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ishes oi tlie Pamlico - 

Albemarle Peninsula, N 

Area utilization and potential impacts 




North Carolina Department of Natural Resources and Community Development • Division of Marine Fisheries 



SPECIAL SCIENTIFIC REPORT NO. 42 



CE1P REPORT NO. 23 



1984 






FISHES OF THE PAMLICO-ALBEMARLE PENINSULA, N.C. 
AREA UTILIZATION AND POTENTIAL IMPACTS 



by 



Sheryan P. Epperly 

North Carolina Department of Natural Resources 

and Community Development 

Division of Marine Fisheries 

Morehead City, N.C. 28557 

Special Scientific Report No. 42 
CEIP Report No. 23 

July 1984 



The preparation of this report was financed through a Coastal Energy 
Impact Program grant provided by the North Carolina Coastal Management 
Program, through funds provided by the Coastal Zone Management Act of 
1972, as amended, which is administered by the Office of Coastal Zone 
Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This CEIP 
grant was part of NOAA grant NA-79-AA-D-CZ097. 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2011 with funding from 
State Library of North Carolina 



http://www.archive.org/details/fishesofpamlicoaOOeppe 



ABSTRACT 



Fisheries data from the Pamlico-Albemarle Peninsula, N.C. were 
compiled and digitized as part of the North Carolina Division of Marine 
Fisheries biological monitoring database. Four species of commercially 
important invertebrates and 132 species of fish were collected on the 
peninsula, usually across a broad range of salinities. Seven life 
history strategies were illustrated by the nekton. Most species were 
transient primary freshwater or marine species but the migratory marine 
species were the most abundant. 

Spatial and temporal partitioning of the waters of the peninsula 
were evident. Primary freshwater species, freshwater transients, and 
anadromous species were most abundant in the oligohaline waters of 
Albemarle Sound, the upper Pungo River and Lake Mattamuskeet, and in the 
limnetic inland lakes. Migratory marine species, marine transients, and 
estuarine residents, except white perch, were more abundant in the 
mesohaline waters of Pamlico Sound. Distributions of some species 
indicated differences between northern and western Pamlico Sound basins. 
Some species such as weakfish were more abundant in deeper water whereas 
others such as the spottail shiner and atherinids were inhabitants of 
the shallow nearshore environment; some were pelagic (e.g. Atlantic 
menhaden) while others were benthic (e.g. brown shrimp) . Utilization of 
the estuarine nursery areas was intense and simultaneous for several 
species groups. Recruitment was high in the spring (spot, croaker, 
brown shrimp, river herring) , and in the summer (white perch, white 
catfish, weakfish, silver perch) . 

More than 90% of North Carolina's commercial fisheries landings are 
comprised of estuarine dependent species. The Pamlico-Albemarle 
Peninsula provides a diverse habitat for estuarine nekton and is one of 
the most productive nursery areas in the state. Changing land use 
practices on the peninsula could significantly alter the productivity of 
the area. Assessment of impacts, however will be difficult until we 
have a consistent database and know more about environmental stress and 
the role of advective processes and biologically relevant abiotic 
factors. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

Page 

Introduction 1 

Materials and Methods 

Data Sources 3 

Data Analysis 6 

Results 

Hydrography 23 

Nekton of the Pamlico-Albemarle Peninsula 24 

Life History Strategies 24 

Profiles of the Most Common Species 40 

Discussion 91 

Potential Impacts 99 

Acknowledgements 103 

Footnotes 105 

Literature Cited 106 

Appendix A. North Carolina commercial marine fisheries landings 
(in thousands of pounds) by species 1962-1983 for Beaufort, 

Dare, Hyde, Tyrrell, and Washington counties 121 

Appendix B. North Carolina commercial marine fisheries landings 
(in thousands of pounds and dollars) by gear 1962-1983 for 

Beaufort, Dare, Hyde, Tyrrell, and Washington counties . . . 127 



INTRODUCTION 

Over one-half of the U.S. commercial fisheries catch is comprised 
of estuarine dependent species. The proportion of estuarine dependent 
species in the North Carolina landings is much higher than the national 
average, exceeding 90% annually (Ross and Epperly in press) . North 
Carolina's largest estuary or lagoon is the Pamlico-Albemarle Sound 
system encompassing an area of 6,630 km 2 (2,560 mi 2 ) (Gross 1972); it is 
the third largest in North America. 

The Pamlico-Albemarle Peninsula is a 4,232 km 2 (1,634 mi 2 ) land 
mass situated between Albemarle Sound to the north, Croatan Sound to the 
east, and Pamlico River and Sound to the south (Figure 1) . Within this 
area is the largest continuous wetland in the state and one of the 
largest in the nation (Heath 1975) . The area is relatively flat, low 
and swampy with the majority of the wetland less than 3 m (10 ft) above 
sea level. Two- thirds of the area, mostly in the eastern half, is less 
than 1.5 m (5 ft) above sea level (Heath 1975). Natural drainage into 
the surrounding sounds is provided primarily by overland drainage into 
Mackeys (Kendricks) Creek, Scuppernong and Alligator rivers to the 
north, and Pungo River and Pamlico Sound embayments to the south. The 
water table is close to the surface and consequently during wet periods 
saturation occurs quickly. Because of the land's relatively flat 
profile, overland runoff moves very slowly, often requiring days or 
weeks. 

Artificial drainage on the peninsula began in the late 1600 's to 
allow for agricultural production, and periods of active land 
development have continued to the present (Skaggs et al. 1980). The 
latest period of increased activities began in the early 1970 's, raising 
concerns about the effects of land development, particularly on the rate 
and distribution of runoff and hence on the water quality of the 
surrounding sounds and their fisheries production. 

Fishery resources are important to the economy of the peninsula and 
to the state. The dockside value of landings in Beaufort, Dare, Hyde, 
Tyrrell and Washington counties has averaged greater than $18 million 
over the last five years, or more than one third of the value of the 
state's edible seafood landings (Table 1). A large proportion of the 




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state's primary nursery areas designated by the North Carolina Marine 
Fisheries Commission are located along the southern perimeter of the 
peninsula (Figure 1) . The low salinity waters of the peninsula serve as 
spawning and nursery areas for anadromous fish species (Figure 1) 
(Street and Pate 1975; Marshall 1976; Johnson et al. 1977; Johnson et 
al. 1981) . Decreased fisheries production due to alteration of 
fisheries habitat on the Pamlico-Albemarle Peninsula could potentially 
affect the economy of the peninsula and of the state. It was therefore 
important to assess the status of the fisheries resources on the 
peninsula in order to evaluate potential impacts. 



MATERIALS AND METHODS 



Data Sources 



There are several sources of fisheries data for the peninsula. The 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has collected data in the Mattamuskeet 
National Wildlife Refuge and the Pungo National Wildlife Refuge at 
irregular intervals since the mid 1900 's. Their efforts were usually 
short term and the results were not published. In summer 1964 the 
Inland Fisheries Division of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources 
Commission surveyed the waters of the Pamlico-Albemarle Peninsula 
(Bayless and Shannon 1965; Smith and Baker 1965). The same Division 
also visited Lake Phelps in 1965 and 1976 and established trawl stations 
in the lake during 1978 (Kornegay and Dineen 1979) . Environmental 
Science and Engineering, Inc. (ESE) sampled the upper Pungo River on 
four occasions between November 1981 and February 1983 to conduct a 
preliminary assessment for Peat Methanol Associates (Environmental 
Science and Engineering 1982a, b, unpubl. data) . 

The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) began 
preliminary surveys of anadromous resources in Albemarle and Croatan 
sounds and tributaries during 1972 and sampled established stations 
monthly from 1973 through 1978; areas east of the Scuppernong River were 
sampled only in September or October in subsequent years (Street and 
Pate 1975; Johnson et al. 1977; Johnson et al. 1981; Winslow and 



Sander lin 1983) . The purpose of this survey was to identify anadromous 
fish nursery areas and monitor juvenile populations. Seines have been 
used throughout the survey, but in July 1974 the wing trawl replaced the 
1.8 m (6 ft) Cobb trawl that was used initially. This survey also 
included sampling in the open waters of Croatan Sound, Alligator River, 
Bull Bay and southern Albemarle Sound during 1972-1974 using a 3.0 m 
(10 ft) Cobb twawl (Hester and Copeland 1975; Street and Pate 1975). In 
1982 a semi-balloon trawl was used at two Albemarle Sound stations. 
This juvenile anadromous fish survey was extended to include the Pungo 
River area during 1974-1975 and continued at much reduced levels in the 
Pungo River through 1977 (Marshall 1976, Division of Marine Fisheries, 
unpubl. data). In the Pungo River survey a 3.2 m (10.5 ft) flat trawl 
was used in addition to the seine and the wing trawl. Tow times and 
gears were not consistent and occasionally a trawl was pulled at the 
surface. Anadromous fish spawning areas on the peninsula have been 
identified through: 1) the capture or observation of running ripe 
females, 2) the observation of spawning activity, or 3) the capture of 
eggs or larvae (Street and Pate 1975; Marshall 1976; Johnson et al. 
1977; Johnson et al. 1981) . 

The DMF began a monthly survey of northern Pamlico Sound (excluding 
Pungo River) nursery areas using a 3.2 m (10.5 ft) flat trawl in 1974 
which continued until Fall 1975 (Purvis 1976) . The area was sampled 
with reduced effort until 1978 when a statewide juvenile stock 
assessment survey (including Pungo River) was somewhat standardized 
(Carpenter 1979; Carpenter and Ross 1979; Ross 1980a; Ross and Carpenter 
1983; Hawkins 1982); tow times were standardized in 1979, and beginning 
in 1981 actual lengths were measured instead of modal lengths. Stations 
sampled with a 6.1 m (20 ft) flat trawl were added in 1978 and in 1981 
the tailbag mesh size of this trawl was changed from 19.0 mm (0.75 in) 
bar mesh to 6.4 mm (0.25 in) bar mesh, effectively changing the profile 
of its catches. Juvenile stock assessment stations on the peninsula 
sampled with the 3.2 m (10.5 ft) flat trawl were invariably in shallow 
water in narrow, upper stream areas with silt and clay sized substrate. 
Stations sampled with the larger trawl were in deeper, more open waters. 

A project to investigate the effects of freshwater drainage was 
conducted by the DMF during 1977-1980, in Rose and Swanquarter bays 




Figure 1. North Carolina primary nursery areas and anadromous fish 
spawning and nursery areas located on the Pamlico- Albemarle Peninsula. 



(Pate and Jones 1981; Jones and Sholar 1981) . Stations indicative of 
altered and unaltered environments were sampled with the 3.2 m (10.5 ft) 
flat trawl two or three times a week during May-October. 

Other fisheries collections have been made on the peninsula. In 
1979 North Carolina State University staff and students under the 
direction of Dr. John Miller began sampling Rose Bay (Gerry 1981; 
Woodward 1981; Sutherland 1982; Currin 1984; Miller et al . in press). 
Nine stations were sampled with the 3.2 m (10.5 ft) flat trawl at two 
week intervals in 1979 and twice a year thereafter. In 1982 and 1983 
intensive effort was concentrated in East Rose Bay Creek. The emphasis 
in 1982 was on species' distributions as related to salinity and in 
1983, on predator-prey relationships. Allen et al. (1979) made 
collections at Durants Island in 1979, and during 1978-1981 the Inland 
Fisheries Division conducted a food habits study of piscivorous fishes 
in Lake Phelps (Kornegay 1981) . 



Data Analysis 

Data were coded and digitized as a part of the DMF biological 
monitoring data file (Epperly 1984), and analyzed using SAS version 82.3 
(SAS Institute 1982a, b) . Because of the differences in the various 
sampling programs several analytical problems were incurred and resolved 
in the following manner: 

1) Data from programs which did not include information on 
all species of the catch were not used quantitatively. 

2) Taxa not identified to species were eliminated from the 
analyses. 

3) All non-commercial invertebrates were eliminated from the 
analyses because of identification problems and lack of 
consistent data on their occurrence. 

4) Several species identifications were changed, especially 
in the Inland Fisheries 1964 stream survey data. Fundulus 
diaphanus (banded killifish) was totally absent in survey 
reports for the peninsula but was probably misreported as F. 
ocellaris, which in this area is now considered a junior 



synonym of F. pulverus (bayou killifish) . F. pulverus is a 
relatively rare species in North Carolina and was not reported 
from any other collections on the peninsula. Individuals are 
sexually dimorphic with female F. pulverus resembling F. 
diaphanus . The records of F. pulverus were analyzed as F. 
diaphanus . F. stellifer (southern studfish) is endemic to the 
Alabama and Chattahoochee river systems of Georgia and 
Alabama, but was reported in the Inland Fisheries stream 
surveys. Because of the rare likelihood of this species 
occurring on the peninsula it was coded as Fundulus sp. 
Native populations of Lepomis megalotis (longear sunfish) are 
west of the Appalachians. It was unlikely that this species 
was introduced despite the Inland Fisheries stream survey 
record and therefore it was coded as Lepomis sp. Paralichthys 
dentatus (summer flounder) and P. lethostigma (southern 
flounder) were both reported in the 1964 survey but P. 
dentatus was the more abundant species and was reported in the 
lowest salinities. This is opposite of the DMF's findings 
throughout the state. Because it was likely that the species 
were confused in the 1964 survey, flounder data from those 
surveys were analysed as Paralichthys sp. Citharichthys 
arctifrons (Gulf Stream flounder) is an offshore marine 
species generally found in depths exceeding 100 m (328 ft) . 
The record of C. arctifrons from the peninsula is probably 
invalid and was a misreported C. spilopterus (bay whiff) , a 
relatively common species in the higher salinity areas of the 
estuary which was notably absent from the survey's species 
list. Gobionellus stigmaticus (spottail goby) was analyzed as 
Gobionellus sp. Verified records of Gobionellus stigmaticus 
in North Carolina are restricted to the southern area of the 
state (Gilbert and Randall 1979) . Records of Etheostoma 
nigrum (johnny darter) on the peninsula were changed to E. 
olmstedi (tessalated darter) . Menhinick (1975) reported the 
distribution of Etheostoma nigrum as restricted to the 
northern central area of the state whereas E. olmstedi is 
distributed throughout the state east of the Appalachians, 



but overlaps with E. nigrum in four areas. 

5) Depending on the program, actual lengths of a 
representative species subsarnple may have been measured, but 
frequently only a range or modal lengths were recorded. When 
other than a range of lengths were recorded, lengths were 
expressed as frequencies of 10 mm modal groups. 

6) All gill nets were analyzed as one gear regardless of 
type, size and set times and given an effort of one unit for 
each station sampled. This was necessary because type, size 
or set information was frequently missing and because of the 
difficulty in comparing efficiency between two different nets. 

7) All seines were analyzed as one gear regardless of type 
and size and given an effort of one unit for each haul. 
Again, frequent lack of specific gear details precluded 
comparing different seines. However, the majority of seine 
effort was with a 28 m (60 ft) bag seine. 

8) Because the area or volume of water sampled was usually 
not recorded, all rotenone collections were assigned a single 
unit effort for each station rotenoned. 

9) Trawl effort was the number of minutes towed. 

Two insurmountable problems were the lack of consistent data from 
the same gear throughout the entire peninsula and inconsistent sampling 
effort with the same gear. Seventeen unique gears were used to sample 
the fishes of the peninsula (Table 2) . Gears have different 
efficiencies for different species and sized individuals. Surveys were 
designed for target species and different surveys did not sample with 
the same gear. Even data collected by the same trawl towed for 
different amounts of time cannot be standardized (per unit effort) and 
compared because nekton species are distributed randomly throughout a 
uniform area but individuals of a species are aggregated (Leaman 1981) . 
For example, data from a 0.5 minute tow cannot be multiplied by two to 
estimate what the catch would have been if the trawl had been towed for 
one minute. Although the anadromous fish survey in the Albemarle Sound 
had consistent gear, tow durations, and sampling frequencies during 
1974-1978, tow times with a different gear in the Pamlico Sound juvenile 
stock assessment survey were not consistent until 1979. There are no 



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years of overlap between the consistent (within survey) samples in the 
two areas . 

Species' catch-per-unit-ef forts (CPUE) were calculated for each 
unique gear by adding the number of individuals collected of a species 
and dividing the sum by the total amount of effort expended by that 
gear. Although not valid for quantitative analyses, the resulting CPUE 
should illustrate trends and differences among areas or gears. 

For analyses, the peninsula was divided into broad geographic areas 
and further divided into drainages of similar characteristics or in 
close proximity. These areas are described in the following pages. 
Sampling sites are shown in Figure 2. 

Albemarle Sound 

Albemarle Sound is a drowned river valley isolated from the 
Atlantic Ocean by the Outer Banks. Outflow from Albemarle Sound is 
relatively large (490 m 3 /s or 17,300 ft 3 /s) creating sufficient flow to 
effectively block saline water entering through Oregon Inlet (Giese et 
al. 1979). Because of the large distance to the nearest inlet, lunar 
tidal amplitude is dampened and overshadowed by wind tides. It is an 
oligohaline body of water (Hester and Copeland 1975) encompassing an 
area of 1820 km 2 (703 mi 2 ) and averages 4.5-6 m (15-20 ft) in depth 
(Roelofs and Bumpus 1953) . Bottom sediments grade from fine sand along 
the southern shore to silts and clays in the central basin (Pels 1967) . 
The shorelines of Washington County are primarily low bank and swamp 
forest with some high bank whereas Tyrrell County shorelines are 
predominately low bank and secondarily swamp forest (Copeland et al. 
1983) . 

Sampling effort in the sound consisted of 51.2 hours towed with the 
wing trawl, 10.6 hours towed with the 1.8 m (6 ft) Cobb trawl, 12.8 
hours towed with the 3.0 m (10 ft) Cobb trawl, 17.4 hours towed with the 
semi-balloon trawl, and 224 seine hauls. Most stations have been 
sampled consistently since 1973. 



II 



Mackeys Creek (Kendricks Creek) 

Mackeys Creek is a small tributary which receives heavy 
agricultural drainage. Except for a small sandy beach at the mouth, the 
main creek is bordered by swamp forests. The predominant land use of 
surrounding areas is agriculture but a wooded buffer was retained along 
the banks of the creek. Depths at the mouth average 2 m (5-6 ft) but 
rapidly decrease to less than 1 m (2 ft) in the farm land areas. This 
tributary was sampled at three rotenone stations in 1964 by the Inland 
Fisheries Division and in 1972 by DMF with four tows made with the 1.8 m 
(6 ft) Cobb trawl. 

Scuppernong River 

The Scuppernong River is a lower coastal plain stream lined by 
swamp forests (McDonald and Ash 1981). Depths range from 2.4 to 4.6 m 
(8-15 ft) and the bottom is mostly mud and detritus (Street and Pate 
1975) . The Scuppernong River area includes Bull Bay. In 1964 Inland 
Fisheries rotenoned seven stations and set gill nets at one. The DMF 
has made 130 seine hauls, and trawled for 15.4 hours with the wing 
trawl, 5.6 hours with the 1.8 m (6 ft) Cobb trawl and 3.1 hours with the 
3.0 m (10 ft) Cobb trawl. Four stations in the river and bay (two seine 
and two wing trawl) have been sampled consistently since 1974. 

Alligator River 
The shorelines of Alligator River are bordered primarily by swamp 
forest and pocosins, although a low bank with a sandspit occurs at the 
mouth on the western shore (McDonald and Ash 1981; Peacock and Lynch 
1982; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 1982). The river between Kilkenny 
Landing and New Lake Fork is bordered by freshwater marsh (McDonald and 
Ash 1981) . The Alligator River was divided into six areas as described 
below: 

Alligator River north of the highway 64 bridge 

This area includes Little Alligator River and East and South lakes 
and was sampled by Inland Fisheries with nine rotenone samples and one 
gill net set in 1964 and by the DMF during 1972-1974. Effort during the 



' ! 







■ ?§P"fe> 



'.i*-f> .V- 
• • • ♦ ♦ • 



:• 



r 



Pamlico Sound 



Fyke net 

Gill net 

28m bog seme 

Unclassified seme 



I Cosl net 

| 1.8 m Cobb trawl 

3.0 m Cobb trawl 
| 3.2m flat trawl 

| 4.9m flat trawl 
| 6.1m flat trawl 

6.1 msemi-balloon trawl 
j 7.9 m wmg trawl 

j Rotenone 
Electric shocker 



Figure 2. Campling locations on the Pamlico-Albemarle Peninsula. 



13 



1972-1974 period included 19.2 hours towed with the 1.8 m (6 ft) Cobb 
trawl, 2.3 hours towed with the 3.0 m (10 ft) Cobb trawl, and 15 seine 
hauls. One station in Little Alligator River was continued as a wing 
trawl station and has been sampled for 6.3 hours. 

Alligator River between the highway 64 bridge and the Frying Pan 
Straits/Stumpy Point 

This area includes Second Creek and the Frying Pan to the west and 
Milltail Creek to the east. The area was sampled by the DMF with the 
1.8 m (6 ft) Cobb trawl in 1972 for a total of 5 hours. Inland 
Fisheries rotenoned five areas and set one gill net in 1964. During 
1972-1973, 2.6 hours were trawled with the 3.0 m (10 ft) Cobb trawl. 
One station in the middle of the river has been sampled since 1972 
changing from a 1.8 m (6 ft) Cobb trawl station (3.3 hours of effort) to 
a wing trawl station in 1974 (5.8 hours of effort). 

Alligator River between Frying Pan Straits/Stumpy Point and a line 
connecting Newport News Point and marker R"10" 

Stations in the river, and in Whipping Creek and Lake were sampled 
by the DMF in 1972-1973 with the 1.8 m (6 ft) Cobb trawl, expending 8 
hours of effort. Sampling at a single station in the river was 
continued after 1973 with the wing trawl (5.8 hours of effort) . Inland 
Fisheries rotenoned five stations within this area, including two in 
Swan Creek and Lake and set one gill net in the river. 

Alligator River between Newport News Point/marker R"10" and the 
Northwest Fork Alligator River 

The intracoastal waterway connecting the Pungo River joins 
Alligator River within this area. In 1972-1973 DMF stations were 
sampled for 4.2 hours with the 1.8 m (6 ft) Cobb trawl. Two stations 
were retained after 1973 and sampled with the wing trawl (12 hours of 
effort) . Inland Fisheries rotenoned and set a gill net at one location 
in 1964. 



14 



Alligator River above the Northwest Fork 

The DMF sampled this area in 1972 with the 1.8 m (6 ft) Cobb trawl 
(0.5 hours of effort) and Inland Fisheries rotenoned three sites in 
1964. 

Northwest Fork Alligator River 

This area includes the Northwest and Southwest forks which drain 
the upper Alligator River Pocosin. The DMF sampled four stations in 
1972 (0.4 hours) with the 1.8 m (6 ft) Cobb trawl. Inland Fisheries 
rotenoned three sites in 1964. 

Croatan Sound 
Croatan and Roanoke sounds connect Albemarle Sound to Oregon Inlet 
and the more saline waters of Pamlico Sound. Croatan Sound differs from 
the portion of Albemarle Sound already discussed in that it is a 
relatively small body of water emcompassing 120 km 2 (46 mi 2 ) (Roelofs 
and Bumpus 1953) and is bordered by brackish marsh. Water depths are 
generally shallow, seldom exceeding 3 m (10 ft) . Only mainland or open 
water samples from Croatan Sound are included, as all Roanoke Island 
stations are not within the area considered in this report. 

Preliminary juvenile anadromous fish sampling in 1972-1973 by the 
DMF used a 1.8 m (6 ft) Cobb trawl (7.3 hours) and a seine. The 3.0 m 

(10 ft) Cobb trawl was used to sample an open water station from April 
1972-June 1974 and was towed for a total of 2.3 hours. After 1973 two 
wing trawl stations and two seine stations were retained. The wing 
trawl was towed for 12.3 hours. Seines were hauled in the sound 115 
times. In 1983 four stations were added in Croatan Sound for the DMF 
juvenile stock assessment program conducted in Pamlico Sound and other 
North Carolina estuaries to the south. Two of the stations were trawled 
with the 3.2m (10.5 ft) flat trawl and two were trawled with the 6.1 m 

(20 ft) flat trawl for a total effort of 0.2 and 0.8 hours, 
respectively. 

Pamlico Sound 
Pamlico Sound and adjacent tributaries cover an area of 4350 km 2 
(168 mi 2 ) and form the second largest estuarine system in the United 



15 



States. It is a large, bar-built embayment consisting of a complex of 
drowned river valleys. This lagoonal area is separated from the ocean 
by barrier beaches breached by the small and shifting Oregon, Hatteras 
and Ocracoke inlets. The Tar-Pamlico and Neuse rivers are the major 
sources of freshwater inflow, which can be periodically high, but on a 
long-term basis Pamlico Sound's hydrography is dominated by tidal 
(oceanic) and wind (lagoon) generated flow (Giese et al. 1979) . Depths 
are very shallow with a maximum of 7.5 m (25 ft). 

Bluff Shoal divides Pamlico Sound into two basins (Folger 1972; 
Giese et al. 1979). Division of Marine Fisheries data (Ross and 
Epperly in press) illustrate distinct biological patterns north and west 
of the shoal indicating a real separation of the sound, at least during 
some seasons. Because of the potential differences between stations on 
either side of the shoal, fisheries data were analyzed by basin. 

Pamlico Sound North of Bluff Shoal 

Stumpy Point Bay 

Stumpy Point Bay differs from other northern Pamlico Sound 
embayments because it has no natural tributaries. Stations were located 
in the deep channel of the bay; station depths ranged from 2.4 to 4.6 m 
(8-15 ft) . The area was sampled by the DMF for nursery area delineation 
and juvenile stock assessment with the 3.2 m (10.5 ft) flat trawl. One 
3.2 m (10.5 ft) flat trawl station was continued after 1977 and one 
nursery area station was changed to a 6.1 m (20 ft) flat trawl station 
in 1978. Effort for the 3.2 m (10.5 ft) trawl was 4.1 hours, and was 
2.4 hours and 1.8 hours, respectively, for the 6.1 m (20 ft) trawl with 
the large and small mesh tailbag. 

Parched Corn Bay, Long Shoal River, Otter Creek 

Numerous nursery area stations were sampled in these areas by DMF 
beginning in 1974. Juvenile stock assessment stations sampled after 
1978 (four 3.2 m (10.5 ft) flat trawl stations and two 6.1 m (20 ft) 
flat trawl stations) did not include samples in Parched Corn Bay, and 
Otter Creek sampling was conducted only in 1983. A single seine haul 



16 



was made in March 1978. Effort in these areas included 8 hours towed 
with the 3.2 m (10.5 ft) flat trawl, 5 hours towed using the 6.1 m (20 
ft) flat trawl with the large mesh tailbag and 3.6 hours towed using the 
same trawl with the small mesh tailbag. 

Far Creek, Middletown Anchorage, Brooks Creek 

These areas have been sampled by DMF since 1974, although only two 
stations have been sampled consistently with the 3.2 m (10.5 ft) flat 
trawl. The site in Brooks Creek was sampled for nursery area 
designations in 1974-1975, but was sampled in the juvenile stock 
assessment program only in March 1983. Far Creek stations were 
generally located in the channel; an open water 6.1 m (20 ft) trawl 
station was added in 1978. Effort in these areas included 4.8 hours 
towed using the 3.2 m (10.5 ft) trawl, 2.5 hours towed using the 6.1 m 
(20 ft) trawl with the large mesh tailbag, and 1.9 hours trawled by the 
6.1 m (20 ft) trawl with the small mesh tailbag. Inland Fisheries 
rotenoned one site in Middletown Creek in 1964. 

Wysocking Bay 

Inland Fisheries rotenoned one site each in Wysocking Bay and Lake 
Landing Canal during their stream survey of 1964, and the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service made a gill net set in Lake Landing Canal in July 1982. 
The DMF began nursery sampling in 1974, continuing two 3.2 m (10.5 ft) 
flat trawl stations after 1976 and adding a 6.1 m (20 ft) flat trawl 
station in 1978. The 3.2 m (10.5 ft) flat trawl station in Hickory 
Creek was sampled only in 1982. Trawling effort in Wysocking Bay 
included 5.1 hours by the 3.2 m (10.5 ft) flat trawl, 2.4 hours by the 
6.1 m (20 ft) trawl with the large mesh tailbag and 1.8 hours by the 
6.1 m (20 ft) trawl with the small mesh tailbag. Three seine hauls were 
made during March - May 1978. 

Outfall Canal, East Bluff Bay 

The Outfall Canal is a drainage outlet for Lake Mattamuskeet. 
Inland Fisheries rotenoned two sites in the canal in 1964 and the DMF 
sampled a 3.2 m (10.5 ft) flat trawl station at its mouth during 
1974-1977. A second station established in Harbor Creek in 1974 is 



17 



still sampled. The 3 . 2 m (10.5 ft) trawl was towed 2.5 hours in this 
area. 

Pamlico Sound West of Bluff Shoal 

West Bluff Bay, Cunning Harbor, Juniper Bay 

Inland Fisheries rotenoned a single site in Judges Quarter Canal 
during their 1964 survey. The DMF nursery area stations sampled with 
the 3.2 m (10.5 ft) trawl were established in 1974; two stations in 
Juniper Bay were retained and sampled consistently as juvenile stock 
assessment stations, one as a 6.1 m (20 ft) flat trawl station. Two 
stations, one in Cunning Harbor and one in Euck Creek, were sampled in 
1982 and 1983, respectively, with the 3.2 m (10.5 ft) flat trawl. Trawl 
effort was 4.8 hours using the 3.2 m (10.5 ft) trawl, 2.4 hours using 
the 6.1 m (20 ft) trawl with the large mesh tailbag and 1.8 hours using 
the 6.1 m (20 ft) trawl with the small mesh tailbag. 

Swanquarter Bay 

One site in Swanquarter Bay was rotenoned in 1964 by Inland 
Fisheries. Several DMF nursery stations were established in 1974, three 
of which were continued as juvenile stock assessment stations with one 
of those stations changing to a 6.1 m (20 ft) flat trawl station. An 
additional nursery area station in Eastern Bay was sampled as a juvenile 
stock assessment station 1982. In 1977 three stations, one of which was 
a former nursery area station, were established for the freshwater 
drainage project and were sampled through 1980 with the 3.2 m (10.5 ft) 
flat trawl. Trawl effort totalled 13.6 hours for the 3.2 m (10.5 ft) 
flat trawl, 2.3 hours for the 6.1 m (20 ft) flat trawl with the large 
mesh tailbag, and 1.9 hours for the 6.1 m (20 ft) flat trawl with the 
small mesh tailbag. 

Deep Cove, White Perch Bay 

Four DMF nursery area stations were sampled in this area; none 
except the Blowout station sampled in 1982 were retained as juvenile 
stock assessment stations. The 3.2 m (10.5 ft) flat trawl was towed for 
a a total of 2.0 hours in this area. 



18 



Rose Bay 

Three rotenone samples were taken by Inland Fisheries in 1964 and a 
site in Rose Bay Canal was rotenoned and sampled with a gill net by the 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in July 1982. Several nursery area 
stations were established by DMF in 1974; three were retained and 
sampled consistently as juvenile stock assessment stations, one as a 

6.1 m (20 ft) flat trawl station. In addition, the Broad Creek and 
Lightwood Snag Bay stations were sampled in 1982 and 1983, respectively. 
Freshwater drainage project stations were established in 1977 in Rose 
Bay and Tooley creeks. Cumulative trawl effort was 20.1 hours for the 

3.2 m (10.5 ft) flat trawl, 2.1 hours for the 6.1 m (20 ft) flat trawl 
with the large mesh tailbag and 1.8 hours for the 6.1 m (20 ft) flat 
trawl with the small mesh tailbag. 

Spencer Bay 

Long Creek was rotenoned in 1964 by Inland Fisheries. In 1974 DMF 
began nursery area sampling in the Spencer Bay area and retained two 
stations in Germantown Bay for juvenile stock assessment, one as a 6.1 m 
(20 ft) flat trawl station. Sampling of the 3.2 m (10.5 ft) flat trawl 
station was discontinued after 1982. In 1978 an additional juvenile 
stock assessment station was established as a 3.2 m (10.5 ft) trawl 
station and sampled in subsequent years. Three additional juvenile 
stock assessment stations in Spencer Bay were sampled in 1982 and 1983: 
one in 1982, one in 1983, and one in both years. Two freshwater 
drainage project stations were located in Swan Creek. Cumulative trawl 
effort was 7.5 hours for the 3.2 m U0.5 ft) trawl, 2.0 hours for the 
6.1 m (20 ft) trawl with the large mesh tailbag and 1.8 hours for the 
6.1 m (20 ft) trawl with the small mesh tailbag. 

Abel Bay, Crooked Creek 

Two sites in Abel Bay were established by DMF as nursery area 
sampling stations and continued in the juvenile stock assessment 
program, although one was sampled with a 6.1 m (20 ft) flat trawl in the 
latter program. The juvenile stock assessment station in Crooked Creek 
was sampled only in 1983. Inland Fisheries rotenoned one site in Abel 



lJ 



Bay during their 1964 stream survey. Cumulative trawl effort was 2.4 

hours for the 3.2 m (10.5 ft) flat trawl, 2.3 hours for the 6.1 m (20 

ft) trawl with the large mesh tailbag and 1.9 hours for the 6.1 m (20 
ft) trawl with the small mesh tailbag. 

Pungo River from mouth to Field Point/Sandy Point 

The Inland Fisheries took four rotenone samples and set one gill 
net in the lower Pungo. The DMF conducted anadromous and juvenile stock 
assessment surveys in the area and, except for two seine stations, the 
3.2 m (10.5 ft) flat trawl was used exclusively in this area during the 
anadromous fish survey and at the Warner Creek station during both 
surveys; cumulative effort for this gear was 4.4 hours. One seine 
station from the 1974-1975 anadromous survey was retained in the 
juvenile stock assessment program through 1979; 40 seine hauls were 
made. The 6.1 m (20 ft) flat trawl was used at the juvenile stock 
assessment program stations in Fortescue and Wrights creeks and 
accounted for 4.7 hours of effort for the trawl with the large mesh 
tailbag and 3.7 hours of effort for the trawl with the small mesh 
tailbag. 

Pungo River from Field Point/Sandy Point to Durants Point/Windmill Point 
In their 1964 stream survey, Inland Fisheries rotenoned one site 
each in each Jordan Creek, Slade Creek and the Pungo River. The DMF 
made 11 seine hauls at an anadromous survey station in the river and 
towed the 3.2 m (10.5 ft) flat trawl at anadromous fish stations in the 
river, and in Slade, Fishing and Jordan creeks. The Wood Creek 
anadromous station was continued in the juvenile stock assessment 
program; an additional station sampled with the 6.1 m (20 ft) trawl was 
established in Slade Creek in 1978. Cumulative trawl effort was 3.2 
hours for the 3.2 m (10.5 ft) flat trawl, 2.4 hours for the 6.1 m (20 
ft) flat trawl with the large mesh tailbag and 1.8 hours for the same 
trawl with the small mesh tailbag. 

Pantego Creek, Pungo Creek 

Inland Fisheries rotenoned 5 and 4 sites in Pantego and Pungo 
creeks, respectively. The 3.2 m (10.5 ft) flat trawl, and 7.9 m (26 ft) 



20 



wing trawl were used to sample most anadromous fish stations in the two 
creeks. A seine station and 3.2 m (10.5 ft) flat trawl station in Pungo 
Creek were sampled in both the anadromous fish and juvenile stock 
assessment surveys, but the seine and trawl stations were discontinued 
after 1980 and 1981, respectively. Trawl effort in these creeks was 4.3 
hours for the 3.2 m (10.5 ft) flat trawl towed on the bottom, 0.4 hours 
for the bottom towed wing trawl, 3 min for the surface towed 3.2 m (10.5 
ft) flat trawl and 1.7 hours for the surface towed wing trawl. Seines 
were hauled 43 times. 

Pungo River between Durants Point/Windmill Point and highway 264 bridge 
at Leechville 

Eight sites were rotenoned by Inland Fisheries in 1964, and on 3 
occasions in 1981 and 1982 Environmental Science and Engineering sampled 
two sites in the river for Peat Methanol Associates using gill nets, the 
3.2 m (10.5 ft) flat trawl and/or a 4.9 m (16 ft) flat trawl. The DMF 
sampled the river and tributary creeks with the 3.2 m (10.5 ft) flat 
trawl, the wing trawl and seines for the anadromous fish program. The 
seine station in the river and two trawl stations in Scranton and Upper 
Dowry creeks were also sampled in the juvenile stock assessment program, 
although the seine station and Upper Dowry Creek trawl station were 
discontinued after 1979 and 1981, respectively. Seines were hauled 40 
times, gill nets were set 6 times, the 3.2 m (10.5 ft) trawl was towed 
for 4.3 hours, a 4.9 m (16 ft) flat trawl was towed (by ESE) for 5 
minutes, and the wing trawl was towed for 10 minutes. 

Pungo River above Leechville 

Rotenone was used by Inland Fisheries to sample two sites in the 
river and the DMF sampled three stations in the river with the 3.2 m 
(10.5 ft) trawl and used the wing trawl at one. ESE visited the river 
on four occasions during 1981-1983 and sampled several stations in the 
river with gill nets, a 4.9 m (16 ft) flat trawl or the 3.2 m (10.5 ft) 
trawl. They also used gill nets in Clark Mill Creek and Canal D, and 
five seine hauls were also made in the latter. A total of 41 gill net 
sets were made and trawl effort was 1.0 hour for the 3.2 m (10.5 ft) 



2] 



trawl, 10 minutes for the 4.9 m (16 ft) flat trawl and 1 minute for the 
wing trawl. 

Inland Lakes 
The Pamlico-Albemarle Peninsula contains four natural lakes which, 
under natural conditions, were landlocked. Lake bottom altitudes exceed 
sea level in all lakes except Lake Mattamuskeet (Heath 1975) . All four 
lakes are at least partially surrounded by a ridge of land which was 
likely formed with sand and silt eroded from the lake bottom and 
probably represents the pre-drainage canal extents of the lakes (Heath 
1975) . Attempts to lower the water levels of these lakes began with the 
completion of a canal connecting Lake Phelps and the Scuppernong River 
in 1787. With monies provided by the State Literary Board in the late 
1830* s, drainage canals for Mattamuskeet (Lake Landing Canal), New and 
Pungo lakes were completed (Heath 1975) . Physicochemical data for each 
lake were given in Heath (1975) . 

Lake Phelps 

Lake Phelps is a 65 km 2 (25 mi 2 ) natural lake of relatively clear 
water whose northern border is the Pettigrew State Park. The lake's 
perimeter offers a flooded woodland/aquatic macrophyte fisheries habitat 
in contrast to the barren sand/mud bottom which comprises most of the 
midlake (Kornegay and Dineen 1979) . The maximum depth is approximately 
2 m (7 ft) but the average depth is 1.5 m (5 ft) (Heath 1975). The area 
analyzed as Lake Phelps included the lake itself and all canals around 
its perimeter, including those connecting the lake to the Scuppernong 
River. 

In their 1964 stream survey, Inland Fisheries rotenoned a site in 
both Moccasin (Western) and Batava canals. In June of the following 
year the same Division returned to rotenone two sites in Lake Phelps. 
They also rotenoned an area in the northeast corner of the lake in their 
March 1976 visit. An electric shocker was used at the same site and 
along the southern shore in the March 1976 sampling. In November 1976, 
they sampled 12 stations within the lake using the wing trawl (10 minute 
tows) and during April through October 1978 sampled 20 stations at 
night, monthly with the same trawl. In addition, angling, 



22 



electrof ishing and gill nets were used to supplement the monthly trawl 
catches for a piscivorous game fish food habits study (Kornegay 1981) . 
Effort with the wing trawl was 19 hours. 

New Lake (Alligator Lake) 

New Lake is a shallow lake with a mean depth of 1 m (3 ft) and a 
surface area of 19.9 km 2 (7.7 mi 2 ) (Heath 1975). Natural drainage was 
towards the Alligator River. Turbidity is high in the lake because of 
erosion of the hard, black clay bottom. Fisheries data from the lake is 
represented solely by one rotenone sample taken by Inland Fisheries in 
1964. 

Lake Mattamuskeet 

Lake Mattamuskeet is the largest natural lake in the state 
encompassing an area of 172.8 km 2 (66.7 mi 2 ) (Heath 1975). Natural 
drainage was to the north, towards the Alligator River. Depths in the 
lake average less than 1 m (2.5 ft) and the bottom is predominantly sand 
(Heath 1975). Since the completion of Lake Landing Canal in 1838, other 
canals connecting the lake to Pamlico Sound (Waupopin, Outfall, and Rose 
Bay canals) and Alligator River (Fairfield Canal) have been dug. In 
1913 the lake was drained via an extensive network of canals, ditches 
and a pumping station for agricultural use of the fertile bottom. In 
1933 the ambitious project was abandoned and in 1934 the lake and 
adjoining land was purchased to form the Mattamuskeet National Wildlife 
Refuge. The lake has been managed since for waterfowl (Heath 1975) . 
The earliest fisheries data were collected in 1901, and Huish (1979) 
summarized sources of Lake Mattamuskeet fisheries data through 1979. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made seine collections in the 
lake in June 1949 and 1956. In July 1958 and October 1959 a variety of 
gears including seines, gill nets and rotenone were used, but data were 
not reported by gear. Rotenone and gill nets were used in their August 
1961 visit to the lake. In 1964 Inland Fisheries rotenoned areas in 
Fairfield and Carters canals. Beginning in 1965 the North Carolina 
Cooperative Fisheries Unit under the direction of Dr. F. E. Hester 
sampled the lake. In May 1965 rotenone and seines were used while in 
October of the same year gill nets were set and during October through 



2 J 



December 1966 gill nets, rotenone and seines were used. The unit 
visited the lake nearly monthly, sometimes more frequently, February 
1967 to June 1969 using the same gears and supplementing with cast and 
fyke nets. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service set gill nets in the lake 
in July 1982 and used seines and rotenone in the canals and management 
impoundments. Effort for the above mentioned collections totalled 35 
seine hauls, 25 rotenone sites, 38 gill net sets, 2 cast net samples and 
3 fyke net sets. 

Pungo Lake 

Pungo Lake is the smallest of the peninsula's natural lakes, 
encompassing a surface area of 11.4 km 2 (4.4 mi 2 ) (Heath 1975). 
Although once landlocked, the lake's natural drainage was towards the 
Pungo River. The lake's drainage was hastened by drainage canals dug 
between 1839 and 1843 and the depth of the lake now averages less than 
1 m (3 ft) (Heath 1975). Because of the area's peat deposits turbidity 
is high and pH is low (Boaze 1980) . The lake and surrounding lands were 
incorporated as the Pungo National Wildlife Refuge in 1963. 

The area analyzed as Pungo Lake includes the lake, the Pungo Lake 
Canal and the canals within the refuge. Two rotenone samples were taken 
in 1964 in the Pungo Lake Canal by Inland Fisheries and in May 1965 the 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rotenoned two sites in the lake (one in 
the center and one along the shore) , set experimental gill nets in the 
center, and seined along shore. They returned to the refuge in July 
1980, rotenoning two sites in the lake and one site in the Duck Pen Road 
Ditch, and set gill nets in the lake and surrounding canals. In July 
1982 they recorded temperature and pH at 17 sites within the lake and 
canals. Effort in this area totalled seven rotenone stations, one seine 
collection, and seven gill net collections. 

RESULTS 

Hydrography 

Water temperatures on the Pamlico-Albemarle Peninsula closely 
follow air temperatures with maxima typically occurring in late summer 
and minima occurring in January (Giese et al. 1979) . Salinities are 



24 



less variable but follow a seasonal cycle of reduced salinities in the 
early spring as a result of heavy winter runoff and higher salinities in 
the late summer coincident with reduced summer runoff. Winds dominate 
the short term horizontal patterns of salinity distribution (Roelofs and 
Bumpus 1953) . 

Nekton collections on the peninsula were taken in salinities 
ranging from 0-30.2 /oo , although most effort was expended in waters of 
less than 18 /oo (Table 3) . Salinities were highest in Pamlico Sound 
and tributaries (Figure 3) and averaged 2-3 / oo higher at stations 
north of Bluff Shoal than at stations located west of Bluff Shoal. Mean 
salinities of the Pungo River area below the highway 264 bridge and of 
Croatan Sound were in the lower mesohaline range, whereas Albemarle 
Sound and tributary waters and the upper Pungo River were oligohaline. 
Lake Phelps, New Lake and Pungo Lake were essentially fresh water but 
salinities in Lake Mattamuskeet , when measured, were high enough to 
classify that lake as oligohaline. 

Nekton of the Pamlico-Albemarle Peninsula 

Collections on the Pamlico-Albemarle Peninsula have yielded four 
species of commercially important invertebrate nekton and 132 species of 
fishes (Table 4) . Eleven species accounted for more than 95% of the 
total number of individuals captured and three of those species (bay 
anchovy, spot and Atlantic menhaden) together accounted for greater than 
75%. Most species were collected across a broad range of salinities 
(Table 5) , but distributions relative to salinity are difficult to 
discern because effort was not distributed equally across the range of 
salinities encountered (Table 3) . 

Life History Strategies 

Seven life history strategies were represented by the nekton 
collected on the peninsula (Table 6) . Few species were collected 
strictly in freshwater and, in most instances, these were represented by 
single individuals. Three species of this group, Lepomis microlophus , 
L. cyanellus and Ictalurus melas , are not endemic to the area (Lee et 
al. 1980); it is uncertain whether the Lake Phelps occurrence of the 
endangered Fundulus waccamensis represents a fourth introduction (Shute 



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1980) or a relict population (Bailey 1977) . These stenohaline primary 
freshwater fishes were generally restricted to Albemarle Sound, the 
Pungo River or the inland lakes. 

A large proportion of the species encountered were transient, 
primary freshwater fish. These species commonly entered low salinity 
waters, but were rarely found at salinities greater than 18° / 00 . Most 
were captured in Albemarle Sound, Pungo River or the inland lakes. 
Carassius auratus and Cyprinus carpio are introduced species (Lee et al. 
1980) . Although generally more recreationally than commercially 
important, the group had a dockside value of $235,705 (N.C. Division of 
Mar. Fish. 1984) in North Carolina's 1983 commercial landings. 

Many nekton species are indigenous to the estuary, generally 
completing their life cycle within the lower salinity waters of the 
estuary. They are considered residents even though they are commonly 
found in the coastal ocean environment. These species have a tolerance 
to a wide range of salinities and are often distributed ubiquitously. 
They are important prey items for many species utilizing the estuary 
(Darnell 1958; Carr and Adams 1973; Overstreet and Heard 1982). Most 
resident species are abundant and, except for blue crabs and white 
perch, they are not commercially important. Estuarine residents, 
including sessile shellfish species, had a 1983 dockside value of 
$15,876,665 in North Carolina's commercial landings (N.C. Div. of Mar. 
Fish. 1984). 

Anadromous fish spend most of their life at sea, but adults migrate 
to freshwater during spring spawning runs. Offspring utilize the low 
salinity waters as nurseries, and most species usually emigrate during 
their first fall. Striped bass are generally considered an anadromous 
species which remains in the estuary until reaching sexual maturity. 
However, populations in Albemarle Sound may complete their entire life 
cycle within the estuary (Street and Pate 1975) . Adults of all 
anadromous species are commercially and recreationally important, and in 
1983 were worth $1,170,419 to North Carolina's commercial fishermen 
(N.C. Div. of Mar. Fish. 1984) 

The American eel is catadromous, spending most of its life in fresh 
or brackish waters. Upon reaching sexual maturity it migrates to the 
Sargasso Sea to spawn. Pelagic leptocephali are carried inshore and 
after transforming into elvers migrate into the estuaries, where they 



36 



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may remain for 7 to 20 years (Hardy 1978a). North Carolina's 1983 
dockside value of American eels was $270,708 (N.C. Div. Mar. Fish. 
1984) . 

The majority of individuals collected on the peninsula represented 
the migratory marine life history strategy; estuarine nursery areas are 
requisite for the early life history stages of this group. Most species 
spawn at sea during the winter when onshore transport is maximal (Miller 
et al. in press) ; however, several species such as those of the genus 
Cynoscion are spring and summer spawners in the nearshore or estuarine 
environment. Juveniles of all migratory marine species utilize the 
estuarine nurseries and as young-of-the-year migrate to higher salinity 
areas. This species group accounts for over 50% of the value of North 
Carolina's commercial landings and is also an important species group 
for recreational fisheries. In 1983 its commercial dockside value was 
$33,873,102 (N.C. Div. Mar. Fish. 1984). 

A large number of marine transient species were collected on the 
peninsula. These species were not common and were usually taken in the 
higher salinity areas. They have little or no direct dependence on the 
estuary but may be abundant seasonally in the open waters of North 
Carolina's large sounds (Higgins and Pearson 1928; Schwartz 1973; 
DeVries 1980) . 

Profiles of the Most Common Species 

Three gears, the seine, the 3.2 m (10.5 ft) flat trawl and the wing 
trawl, were employed concurrently for several years and had broad 
geographic coverage. Species' CPUE were calculated for each of these 
gears and expressed as catch-per-ef fort based on the normal effort 
expended by a gear at a single station (seine - 1 haul; wing trawl - 10 
min.,- flat trawl - 1 min.). Only trawl data from bottom tows and from 
collections of a known duration were used in the calculations. Total 
effort for each gear and area is given in Table 7. Twenty species 
averaged greater than one individual per effort in one of the three 
gears (Table 8) and are discussed in detail in the following pages. 
Recruitment, as used in the discussion of these commonly occurring 
species, refers to recruitment to the various gears. 



41 



Table 7. Seine, wing trawl and flat trawl (3.2 m) sampling effort in 
each area of the Pamlico-Albemarle Peninsula. 



Gear 



Area 





Wing 


Flat 


Seine 


trawl 


trawl 


(hauls) 


(minutes) 




224 


3,074.5 




130 


925.0 




15 


377.0 
350.0 





(minutes) 
Albemarle Sound 

Mackeys Creek 
Scuppernong River 
Alligator River 

north of hwy 64 bridge 

hwy 64 bridge to Frying Pan 

Straits/Stumpy Pt. 
Frying Pan Straits/Stumpy Pt. 
to Newport News Pt. /Marker 
R"10" 
Newport News Pt. /Marker 

R"10" to the Northwest Fork 
above the Northwest Fork 
Northwest Fork 
Croatan Sound 
Pamlico Sound 
north of Bluff Shoal 
Stumpy Point Bay 
Parched Corn Bay, Long Shoal River, 

Otter creak 
Far Cr. Middletown Anchorage, 

Brooks Creek 
Wysocking Bay 

Outfall Canal, East Bluff Bay 
west of Bluff Shoal 

West Bluff Bay, Cunning Harbor, 

Juniper Bay 
Swanquarter Bay 
Deep Cove, White Perch Bay 
Rose Bay 
Spencer Bay 

Abel Bay, Crooked Creek 
Pungo River 

below Field Point/Sandy Point 
Field Point/Sandy Point to 

Durants Point/Windmill Pt. 
Pantego Creek, Pungo Creek 
Durants Pt. /Windmill Pt. to 

hwy 264 bridge 
above hwy 264 bridge 
Inland Lakes 

Lake Phelps 
New Lake 

Lake Mattamuskeet 
Pungo Lake 



720.0 



115 



1,140.0 

35 
1 



350.0 



735.0 



1.0 



17.0 



247.0 
480.3 
287.3 

287.3 
308.0 
148.8 

289.5 







817.5 






122.0 






1,204.3 






447.5 






142.5 


40 




263.0 


11 




193.8 


43 


26.0 


259.5 


40 


10.0 


174.0 



63.0 



4 2 
Table 8. 



Seine, flat trawl and wing trawl catch-per-unit effort for 
species collected on the Pamlico-Albemarle Peninsula. Only 
bottom towed trawl data are used in calculating trawl CPUE. 
Rank indicates the relative position of a species based on its 
CPUE with the particular gear. 



Species 



Seine 
Rank CPUE 



3.2 m flat trawl 
Rank CPUE 



7.9 m wing trawl 
Rank CPUE* 10 



65 



Penaeus aztecus 25 

Penaeus duorarum 53 
Penaeus setiferus 36 
Callinectes sapidus 18 
Dasyatis sabina 
Acipenser oxyrhynchus 
Lepisosteus osseus 
Amia calva 
Elops saurus 
Anguilla rostrata 
Myrophis punctatus 
Alosa aestivalis 
Alosa mediocris 
Alosa pseudoharengus 
Alosa sapidissima 
Brevoortia tyrranus 
Dorosoma cepedianum 
Dorosoma petenese 
Opisthonema oglinum 
Anchoa hepsetus 
Anchoa mitchilli 
Esox a. americanus 
Esox niger 
Cyprinus carpio 
Hybognathus regius 16 
Notemigonus crysoleucas 35 
Notropis hudsonius 14 
Notropis procne 54 

Moxostoma macrolepidotum 
Synodus foetens 
Ictalurus catus 44 



0.14 
0.01 
0.04 
0.54 



42 


0.02 


33 


0.05 


4 


17.51 


40 


0.03 


13 


1.50 


41 


0.03 


3 


35.20 


32 


0.07 


61 


* 


9 


3.71 


1 


131.49 


72 


* 



5 
13 
11 

6 
75 

56 

35 
21 
83 
24 
61 
22 
25 
4 

60 

44 

20 

1 



74 



7.86 

0.44 

0.73 

3.46 
* 



0.02 

0.06 

* 

0.06 

* 

0.06 
0.05 
8.26 



0.01 

0.08 

64.12 



0.98 






0.05 






1.36 


93 


* 


0.01 








52 


0.01 


0.02 


36 


0.02 



27 

62 
10 

54 
37 
61 

24 

3 

43 

6 

53 
9 
2 5 
45 
52 
11 
1 

40 
30 
28 
35 
15 

51 



0.05 

* 
0.81 

* 

0.01 

* 

0.08 

10.76 
0.01 

4.91 

* 

0.83 
0.06 



0.80 
36.69 

0.01 
0.02 
0.03 
0.01 
0.30 



2.06 



Table 8 (continued) 



43 



Seine 3.2 m flat trawl 7.9 m wing trawl 

Rank CPUE Rank CPUE Rank CPUE*10 



Ictalurus melas 
Ictalurus natalis 
Ictalurus nebulosus 
Ictalurus punctatus 
Noturus gyrinus 
Aphredoderus sayanus 
Opsanus tau 
Gobiesox strumosus 
Strongylura marina 
Cyprinodon variegatus 
Fundulus diaphanus 
Fundulus h. heteroclitus 
Fundulus majalis 
Fundulus waccamensis 
Lucania parva 
Gambusia affinis 
Membras martinica 
Menidia beryllina 
Menidia menidia 
Syngnathus fuscus 
Syngnathus louisianae 
Morone americana 
Morone saxatilis 
Centropristis striata 
Diplectrum formosum 
Centrarchus macropterus 
Enneacanthus gloriosus 
Enneacanthus obesus 
Lepomis auritus 
Lepomis gibbosus 
Lepomis gulosus 
Lepomis macrochirus 



82 
49 



0.01 



60 



60 


* 


42 


0.01 


14 


0.36 


19 


0.18 


44 


* 


17 


0.19 







55 


* 






59 


* 


73 


* 






15 


1.04 


92 

81 


* 
* 






24 


0.17 


48 


0.01 


5 9 


* 


71 


* 


62 


* 






64 


* 


64 


* 


41 


0.01 


70 


* 


23 


0.06 






26 


0.12 


91 


* 






11 


1.92 


68 


* 






2 


38.59 


19 


0.10 


22 


0.13 


10 


2.37 


42 


0.01 






19 


0.38 


54 
90 


* 
* 






7 


4.98 


17 


0.16 


2 


22.51 


20 


0.33 


67 


* 


16 


0.29 


27 


0.12 


57 


* 






45 


0.02 


34 


0.02 






52 


0.01 


39 


0.01 






58 


* 










39 


0.03 






58 


* 


21 


0.21 


26 


0.04 


18 


0.19 






63 


* 


36 


0.01 


22 


0.20 


37 


0. 


12 


0.59 



44 



Table 8 (continued) 



Species 



Seine 3.2 m flat trawl 7.9m wing trawl 
Rank CPUE Rank CPUE*10 



Rank 


CPUE 


28 


0.11 


69 


* 


57 


* 


17 


0.77 


23 


0.18 


34 


0.05 


63 


* 


56 


* 



Micropterus salmoides 
Pomoxis nigromaculatus 
Etheostoma olmstedi 
Perca flavescens 
Pomatomous saltatrix 
Caranx hippos 
Selene vomer 
Trachinotus falcatus 
Lutjanus analis 
Lutjanus griseus 
Lutjanus synagris 
Diapterus auratus 
Eucinostomus argenteus 
Eucinostomus gula 
Orthopristis chrysoptera 
Lagodon rhomboides 
Archosargus probatocephalus 
Bairdiella chrysoura 
Cynoscion nebulosus 
Cynoscion regalis 
Leiostomus xanthurus 
Menticirrhus americanus 
Menticirrhus saxatilis 
Micropogonias undulatus 
Pogonias cromis 
Sciaenops ocellatus 
Stellifer lanceolatus 
Chaetodipterus faber 
Mugil cephalus 
Mugil curema 
Chasmodes bosquianus 
Hypleurochilus geminatus 



49 



30 



8 
48 



0.01 



67 




68 


* 


31 


0.09 


50 


0.01 


29 


0.10 


12 


1.82 


37 


0.04 


38 


0.03 


5 


14.32 


51 


0.01 


55 


* 


6 


8.27 



0.09 



4.24 
0.01 



80 


* 


66 


* 


41 


0.01 


28 


0.04 


31 


0.03 


71 


* 


88 


* 


79 


* 


38 


0.02 


87 


* 


29 


0.03 


46 


0.01 


27 


0.04 


47 


0.01 


9 


1.05 


45 


0.01 


7 


2.66 


16 


0.16 


8 


1.64 


2 


53.66 


58 


* 


59 


* 


3 


13.58 


78 


* 


30 


0.03 


51 


0.01 


15 


0.17 


69 


* 


86 


* 



50 

13 
39 
8 
32 
34 
57 



55 
56 
47 

26 

20 

46 

23 

5 



49 



* 
0.58 
0.01 
0.84 
0.02 
0.01 

* 



* 
* 
* 

0.05 

0.14 

* 

0.11 
5.99 



7.64 



Table 8 (continued) 



45 



Species 



Seine 



Rank CPUE 



3.2 m flat trawl 7.9 m wing trawl 
Rank CPUE Rank CPUE* 10 



Hypsoblennius hentzi 
Gobionellus hastatus 
Gobiosoma bosci 62 

Microgobius thalassinus 
Trichiurus lepturus 
Scomberomorus maculatus 
Peprilus alepidotus 
Peprilus triacanthus 
Prionotus carolinus 
Prionotus evolans 
Citharichthys spilopterus 66 
Paralichthys dentatus 46 
Paralichthys lethostigma 47 
Scophthalmus aquosus 
Trinectes maculatus 43 
Symphurus plagiusa 
Aluterus schoepfi 
Monocanthus hispidus 
Sphoeroides maculatus 





70 


* 








53 


* 






* 


18 

14 
85 
65 


0.14 

0.30 

* 

* 








32 


0.03 


38 
38 


0.02 
0.01 




89 


* 








72 


* 






* 


33 


0.02 






0.01 


40 


0.01 


3 3 


0.01 


0.01 


10 

84 


0.92 

* 


29 


0.02 


0.02 


12 
43 
77 


0.44 

0.01 

* 


21 


0.14 



48 



76 



*less than 0.01 individual per effort. 



46 



Penaeus aztecus 

Brown shrimp have an annual life cycle, spawning at sea in late 
winter (Perez Farfante 1969) . Larvae are carried by onshore currents 
into estuarine nursery areas where as postlarvae, they occur most often 
on loose, fine grained substrates, typical of the upper estuary nursery 
areas (Williams 1958) . Juveniles are first found in April (Figure 4) 
(Williams 1955) and continue recruiting into the summer, reaching peak 
abundance in June (Figure 5) . Upon attaining maturity in mid to late 
summer, brown shrimp migrate toward the nearest inlet (McCoy 1968) . 
Wing trawl and seine catches of brown shrimp were negligible (Figure 6) . 
Most were taken in the mesohaline waters of Pamlico Sound by the 3.2 m 
(10.5 ft) flat trawl. Although monthly CPUE of brown shrimp appears 
higher in northern Pamlico Sound than in western Pamlico Sound (Figure 
5) , the latter area includes the Pungo River area which is usually not a 
productive brown shrimp nursery area , probably due to its lower 
salinities (J. H. Hawkins pers. comm.). When the Pungo River area is 
excluded, the CPUE at stations in the northern and western basins were 
similar (Figure 6) . 

Shrimp are a valuable resource to the peninsula (Appendix A) and 
are taken predominately in shrimp trawls . The annularity of the brown 
shrimp crop is reflected by the yearly fluctuations in North Carolina's 
commercial landings. On the average brown shrimp comprise nearly 70% of 
the state's shrimp landings and most are taken in Pamlico Sound (N.C. 
Div. Mar. Fish. 1983) . Pamlico Sound and tributary spring catches of P. 
aztecus in the DMF juvenile stock assessment program are highly 
correlated with brown shrimp landings in Pamlico and Core Sounds 
(DeVries 1984) . 

Callinectes sapidus 

The spawning season of blue crabs is quite long, extending from 
mid-March through October in North Carolina (Williams 1984) . After 
mating in low salinity waters, females migrate into the high salinity 
waters near the inlets where the eggs hatch and zoeae develop. Once 
near the sea, the mature females tend to remain there whereas males 
remain in the low salinity areas of the estuary (Williams 1984; Fischler 
1965) . After transforming to the megalops stage, the young crabs 



47 



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migrate up the estuary, undergoing an estimated 18 to 20 more molts in 
less than lh years before reaching maturity (Williams 1965) . 

Despite the protracted spawning season, recruitment into the 
estuarine nursery areas is lowest during the summer months and highest 
in the spring (Figure 7) (Ross and Epperly in press) . Blue crabs were 
present throughout the year in the low salinity waters of the peninsula, 
but were most abundant in the spring recruitment months, particularly at 
Pamlico Sound flat trawl stations (Figure 8) . Catches in Pamlico Sound 
stations north of Bluff Shoal were consistently higher than catches at 
stations west of the shoal (Figure 9) . 

Blue crabs are taken commercially in pots, trawls, dredges and on 
trot lines and rank second to menhaden in volume landed in North 
Carolina. North Carolina commercial landings (Street 1984) and 
peninsula landings (Appendix A) peaked in 1981 and 1982 coincident with 
peak catches of blue crabs in the DMF juvenile stock assessment program 
conducted on the peninsula (Figure 8) . Most landings are taken from 
Pamlico Sound but the Albemarle Sound fishery has been expanding (Street 
1984) . 

Alosa aestivalis 

The blueback herring is an anadromous species spending most of its 
life at sea. In the early spring, they migrate to freshwater to spawn, 
arriving later than the alewife on the spawning grounds (Street and Pate 
1975; Marshall 1976; Johnson et al. 1977; Johnson et al. 1981; Winslow 
and Sanderlin 1983) . Juveniles begin recruiting to the various sampling 
gears in early summer (Figure 10) , utilizing the freshwater and low 
salinity areas as nurseries but move seaward with increasing age. Most 
emigrate by late fall, but as evidenced by the length frequency 
histograms (Figure 10) , some overwinter within the estuary. 

Commercial landings of river herring from northern Pamlico Sound 
and the Tar-Pamlico are insignificant relative to the Albemarle Sound 
landings (Marshall 1976; Winslow and Sanderlin 1983) . The 
disproportionate population sizes are also reflected in the juvenile 
catches in the two areas. Juvenile blueback herring catches outside of 
the Albemarle Sound area were low and inconsistent (Figure 11) . The 
rare occurrences of blueback herring in the flat trawl catches of 



50 



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Pamlico Sound were exclusively overwintering young-of-the-year. Seine 
catches were generally higher than wing trawl catches; both were 
generally bimodal within a year (Figure 12) and were highest in 
Albemarle Sound proper, particularly in the fall. The first peak in 
abundance occurred in the early summer and was predominately new 
recruits. The second, fall peak probably represents the emigration of 
individuals from the western Albemarle Sound tributaries. The 1981 
juvenile catch was extremely low relative to other years and may be 
attributed to drought conditions which allowed farther than normal 
penetration of saline waters, causing juveniles to occupy nursery areas 
farther upstream than those included in the regular sampling program 
(Winslow and Sanderlin 1983) . 

Alosa pseudoharengus 

The alewife is an anadromous species generally ascending freshwater 
earlier in the spring than the blueback herring (Tyus 1971; Street and 
Pate 1975; Marshall 1976; Johnson et al. 1977; Johnson et al. 1981; 
Winslow and Sanderlin 1983) . Offspring utilize the upper estuary as 
nurseries and begin recruiting in June (Figure 13) . They emigrate by 
late fall but some overwintering occurs. Juvenile survey catches 
outside the Albemarle Sound area were insignificant; the majority of 
alewives taken in the flat trawl catches of Pamlico Sound were collected 
in the early summer and were young-of-the-year (Figure 14) . Catches in 
Albemarle Sound were inconsistent as to which gear (the seine or the 
wing trawl) produced higher catches but were generally bimodal within a 
year reflecting the summer recruitment period and the fall emigration of 
alewives from western Albemarle Sound tributaries (Figure 15) . Overall 
catches were highest in the seine collections in Albemarle Sound proper 
and were lower in 1981-1983 than in previous years. Alewives were not 
as abundant as blueback herring. 

Brevoortia tyrannus 

Atlantic menhaden is a coastal, pelagic, schooling species which in 
the South Atlantic Bight spawns at sea throughout the winter (Higham and 
Nicholson 1964) . Offspring migrate into the low salinity estuarine 
waters, recruiting as early as February (Figure 16) and reach peak 



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abundance in late spring (Figure 17) . Juveniles move downstream with 
increasing size and most emigrate by late fall. 

The species is ubiquitously distributed throughout the peninsula 
(Figure 18) and may be present year round. It is one of the most 
abundant species collected on the peninsula and in the state (Carpenter 
1979; Carpenter and Ross 1979; Ross 1980a; Ross and Carpenter 1983; 
Hawkins 1982; Ross and Epperly in press) . Because bottom trawls do not 
efficiently sample pelagic, schooling species, seine catches were 
consistently higher but quite variable in all areas. 

The combined commercial fisheries for Atlantic and Gulf menhaden 
comprise the largest fishery, by volume, in the United States. The meal 
and condensed solubles are rich in proteins and are used for poultry and 
livestock food supplements. The oil is used in various industrial 
products including paints, soaps, and lubricants. There are no 
reduction plants on the peninsula. Atlantic menhaden are very abundant 
in the open waters of Pamlico and Core sounds and the menhaden industry 
often deploy their purse seines in the inshore waters. It is also one 
of the most common species taken in the long haul seine and pound net 
fisheries (DeVries 1980; Ross 1982) and is an important source of bait 
for the state's crab pot fishery. 

Anchoa hepsetus 

Striped anchovies form large schools in nearshore and estuarine 
pelagic environments. Spawning occurs in late spring and early summer 
(Jones et al. 1978) but recruitment on the peninsula was not well 
defined. Catches with all gears were relatively low, inconsistent and 
insignificant in all areas except in Croatan Sound and the mouth of the 
Pungo River where seine catches were sporadically high (Figure 19) . 

Anchoa mitchilli 

The bay anchovy is an abundant schooling estuarine resident which 
spawns in shallow water in the spring and summer (Jones et al. 1978) . 
Juveniles are recruited first in June in the seine and flat trawl 
catches followed by July recruitment to the wing trawl (Figure 20) . 

Bay anchovies were the most abundant species collected in each 
sound by each gear and were also taken in Lake Phelps and Lake 



57 



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61 



Mattamuskeet. The species was collected over an extremely broad range 
of salinities but showed some geographical differences in distribution. 
Flat trawl catches in northern Pamlico Sound generally were higher than 
flat trawl catches of western Pamlico Sound and Croatan Sound seine and 
wing trawl catches were higher than Albemarle Sound catches (Figures 21, 
22) . Trawl catches in any area were usually comparable to and more 
consistent than the seine catches despite the inherent problems 
associated with sampling a pelagic species with a bottom trawl. 

Notropis hudsonius 

The spottail shiner is a bottom dwelling fish that is usually 
solitary but schools when spawning (Scott and Crossman 1973) . The 
spawning season is protracted from late spring through summer (Jones et 
al. 1978) and juveniles begin recruiting in June (Figure 23) . 

N. hudsonius was abundant in Albemarle Sound collections taken 
either in the sound or near tributary mouths (Figure 24) at salinities 
less than 5.0 /oo- The flat trawl collection in Pungo River was of a 
single individual taken in September 1974; all other catches were in 
Albemarle Sound and tributaries (Figure 24) . Seine catches invariably 
exceeded wing trawl catches (Figure 25) indicating the species is an 
inhabitant of shallow nearshore areas. 

Ictalurus catus 

The white catfish is a coastal plain species common in waters of 
less than 5 °/ 00 salinity . Avoiding vegetation, it is frequently found 
over heavily silted areas. Spawning occurs in late spring in nests 
built near sand or gravel banks and offspring are guarded initially by 
the parents (Jones et al. 1978) . Juveniles are recruited during 
June-September (Figure 26) and reach maturity in one to two years (Jones 
et al. 1978). Seine and flat trawl catches of I_. catus were 
insignificant when compared to wing trawl catches in Albemarle Sound 
except for sporadically high catches in the upper Pungo River 

(Figure 27) . Low catches in the spring, reflecting their spawning 
behavior, were followed by high summer catches of new recruits 

(Figure 28) . Wing trawl catches in Albemarle Sound have declined since 
the mid to late 1970' s. 



62 



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The Albemarle Sound area contributes approximately 90% of North 
Carolina's catfish landings (Harriss 1982). Catfish are taken primarily 
in pound nets, gill nets, and fish pots. I. catus and I. punctatus are 
the dominant species in the catches; white catfish are usually more 
common than channel catfish (Keefe and Harriss 1980) . Catfish landings 
on the peninsula have varied by over 100%, peaking in recent years 
during 1977 (Appendix A) . White catfish do not grow as large or live as 
long as channel catfish and those landed in the 1980 and 1981 commercial 
fishery were predominantly age 3 and 4 (Harriss 1982) , reflecting the 
relatively large year classes of I. catus also represented in DMF 
sampling on the peninsula in the middle to late 1970' s. 

Strongylura marina 

The Atlantic needlefish is primarily an inshore, shallow water 
species that frequently enters freshwater. Spawning occurs in the 
spring inside the estuary (Hardy 1978a) and young recruits are first 
encountered in seine collections in May (Figure 29) . Juveniles utilize 
the low salinity areas, emigrating in the fall. Because individuals are 
upper water column residents and are extremely agile, trawl catches of 
S. marina were almost non-existent and do not reflect the abundance of 
the species in an area (Figure 30) . The trawl collection of S. marina 
in the lower Pungo River represents a single individual. Adults utilize 
the peninsula's waters but because of their agility were not usually 
captured with a seine. Hence, the monthly seine CPUE catches 
(Figure 31) primarily reflect the abundance of juvenile Atlantic 
needlefish. 

Membras martinica 

The rough silverside is an estuarine resident commonly found in the 
higher salinity areas of the estuary. Spawning is protracted from late 
spring to fall and probably occurs among vegetation (Hildebrand and 
Schroeder 1928) . Young-of-the-year recruit into seine collections from 
June through October (Figure 32) . The rough silverside is a pelagic 
species which schools in shallow water and was not vulnerable to trawl 
efforts. Seine collections of M. martinica were highest in Croatan 
Sound and in the Pungo River, but were quite variable in all areas 



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(Figure 33) , precluding definition of its seasonal abundance on the 
peninsula. 

Menidia beryllina 

The inland silverside is an abundant, pelagic, estuarine resident 
of shallow coastal waters and is usually found in fresher waters than 
the rough and Atlantic silversides. The spawning season has been 
reported to extend throughout the spring and summer, with some 
individuals spawning more than once (Hildebrand 1922; Hardy 1978a), but 
recruitment as evidenced by the seine catches occurs every month on the 
Pamlico-Albemarle Peninsula (Figure 34) . Although variable, seine 
catches indicated a pattern of peak abundance in the summer and higher 
catches in the lower salinity waters of Albemarle Sound and western 
Pamlico Sound (Figure 35) . Few were collected in northern Pamlico 
Sound, primarily due to the lack of seine effort in that area (Figure 
36), but when effort was made, the inland silverside was very abundant. 
Trawl catches of the inland silverside were insignificant when compared 
to the seine catches. 

Menidia menidia 

The Atlantic silverside is an abundant pelagic species inhabiting 
shallow marine and brackish waters. Menidia menidia spawns from early 
spring to late summer among vegetation, particularily among Zostera in 
high salinity areas, and probably spawns more than once during a season 
(Hildebrand 1922) . Recruiting young-of-the-year first appear in June 
(Figure 37) . The Atlantic silverside was seldom taken in the flat trawl 
collections and only then at stations north of Bluff Shoal; it was never 
collected with the wing trawl (Figure 38) . Although it does enter 
freshwater, it was most common nearest the closest inlet, in Croatan 
Sound. Monthly CPUE was sporadic in all areas but M. menidia was 
consistently captured in Croatan Sound seine collections (Figure 39) . 

Morone americana 

North Carolina populations of white perch are considered estuarine 
residents (Conover 1958) . Spawning occurs in April through June (Hardy 
1978b) with juvenile recruits first appearing in June (Figure 40) . 



70 





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Although most abundant in fresh and low salinity waters, individuals 
were collected at salinities as high as 30 /oo and in all areas of the 
peninsula except New Lake (Figure 41) . Wing trawl and seine collections 
in Albemarle Sound were much higher than catches in all other areas 
except Lake Mattamuskeet. Monthly CPUE data from Albemarle Sound 
collections illustrate a peak abundance in the summer coinciding with 
recruiting young-of-the-year and a spring and fall migration, 
respectively, into and out of the study area (Figure 42) . White perch 
migrate to the western Albemarle Sound basin and reach peak biomass in 
the sound during the winter months (Hester and Copeland 1975) . The 
populations of white perch in Lake Phelps and Lake Mattamuskeet showed a 
peak in abundance in the summer. Seine and wing trawl catches during 
1978-1981 were high relative to the other years (Figure 42) . 

The majority of the state's white perch landings are from the 
Albemarle Sound area where they are captured in haul seines, pound nets 
and gill nets. Landings on the peninsula in five of the last six years 
have been higher than in any of the previous 15 years (Appendix A) . 
Harriss (1982) noted that white perch in the Albemarle Sound 1978-1981 
commercial landings were predominately ages 3 and 4. 

Lagodon rhomboides 

Pinfish spawn offshore in late fall and winter (Johnson 1978) . 
Pelagic larvae are carried into the estuary by onshore currents and 
juveniles begin recruiting as early as February (Figure 43) . Abundance 
peaks in late June (Figure 44) declining thereafter as young-of-the-year 
move to deeper water with growth (Johnson 1978) . Some individuals 
remain in shallow water throughout the winter. Wing trawl and seine 
catches of L. rhomboides in Albemarle Sound and Croatan Sounds were low 
and always occurred in the fall (Figure 45) . Flat trawl catches in 
Pamlico Sound were high, with stations west of Bluff Shoal having a 
consistently higher CPUE than stations north of the shoal. 

Bairdiella chrysoura 

Silver perch spend most of their lives within the estuary but 
regularly migrate to deeper waters and offshore in the winter (Johnson 
1978) . Spawning occurs within the estuarine zone between late April and 



75 




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77 



the middle of July (Hildebrand and Cable 1930) and juveniles are first 
captured in June (Figure 46) . Abundance patterns reflect the high 
summer recruitment of young-of-the-year and the seasonal migration of 
yearlings and older fish into the peninsula's waters in the spring and 
emigration in the fall (Figure 47) . Although tolerant of a broad range 
of salinities, most individuals were taken in the higher salinity waters 
of northern Pamlico Sound. Seine and wing trawl catches in Croatan and 
Albemarle sounds were sporadically high, but did not illustrate any 
pattern of abundance in those areas (Figure 48) . 

Cynoscion regalis 

Weakfish are an important component of the nearshore environment, 
utilizing the estuary for spawning and juvenile nurseries, and moving 
offshore in the winter (Merriner 1973) . Spawning occurs in the estuary 
and nearshore areas from March to October peaking primarily in May or 
June and secondarily in late July or August (Merriner 1976) . Juveniles 
are most abundant over soft muddy substrates in deeper water (Johnson 
1978; Hawkins 1982) and recruit in late spring through fall (Figure 49) . 
Weakfish prefer high salinity water and were captured most frequently in 
Pamlico Sound stations located north of Bluff Shoal (Figure 50) . Seine 
and wing trawl catches (mainly in shallow or low salinity areas) were 
small, emphasizing the juveniles' preference for deeper, higher salinity 
areas. Monthly CPUE data indicated a regular pattern of 
young-of-the-year recruitment peaking in the summer, followed by their 
emigration in the fall (Figure 51) ; some juveniles overwintered. 

Weakfish are primarily caught in the winter trawl fishery off 
Virginia and North Carolina (Mercer 1983) but gill net, pound net and 
haul seine fisheries also contribute significantly to North Carolina's 
landings. The dramatic increase in weakfish landings on the peninsula 
corresponds to greatly increased winter trawl landings beginning in 1972 
(Appendix A) . 

Leiostomus xanthurus 

Spot is a migratory marine species spawning offshore during October 
through February, but principally in December and January (Johnson 
1978) . Juveniles begin recruiting in February (Figure 52) reaching peak 



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MONTHLY LENGTH FREQUENCIES 

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n=4300 



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Monthly length frequencies of Leiostomus xanthurus. 



82 



abundance in May (Figure 53) . Catches throughout the year are 
predominately of young-of-the-year , but overwintering yearlings were 
present in late winter and early spring. Monthly CPUE data reflect the 
spring recruitment, which occurred first in northern Pamlico Sound, and 
also reflects the late summer and fall emigration of the 
young-of-the-year. Spot were distributed throughout the peninsula in 
all areas except Lake Phelps, New Lake and Pungo Lake (Figure 54). It 
was one of the most common species collected but was most abundant in 
Pamlico Sound, particularly at stations west of Bluff Shoal. 

Most spot landed in North Carolina are taken in the Pamlico and 
Core sounds long haul seine fishery and were the most abundant species 
sampled in that fishery (DeVries 1980) . Most spot landed in the long 
haul fishery are age 1, but they begin to recruit to the fishery during 
their first fall after leaving the nursery areas (Ross 1982). L_. 
xanthurus is also taken in significant quantities in the pound net, gill 
net and winter trawl fisheries. State landings peaked in 1979 and 1980 
which were also years of high spot landings on the peninsula (Appendix 
A). 

Micropogonias undulatus 

Spawning of Atlantic croaker off North Carolina is protracted, 
occurring from September to March, but peaking in October (Warlen 1980). 
Juvenile recruitment occurs in all except the summer months but is 
highest in the spring (Figure 55) . A second peak in recruitment occurs 
during the fall but is generally restricted to the northern Pamlico 
Sound stations (Figure 56) . Late winter and spring recruited croaker 
leave the nursery areas at the end of the summer and in the fall, but a 
few may overwinter with the fall recruits. Like spot, croaker were 
distributed throughout the peninsula but unlike spot, they were most 
abundant in Pamlico Sound north of Bluff Shoal (Figure 57). 

The winter trawl and long haul fisheries jointly account for most 
of North Carolina's croaker landings, although in recent years the sink 
net and pound net fisheries have also contributed significantly to the 
landings. Croaker are fully recruited to the fisheries by age 1 but 
young-of-the-year begin recruiting by their first fall. Most croaker 
landed in North Carolina are yearlings although at least seven age 



33 





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classes have been identified in the commercial catches (Ross 1982, pers. 
coram.) . North Carolina and peninsula landings peaked in 1979 and 1980 
(Appendix A) . 

Mugil cephalus 

The striped mullet is a pelagic migratory species utilizing the 
shallow estuarine areas for juvenile nurseries and as adult feeding 
grounds. Spawning occurs offshore in the late fall and early winter 
(Martin and Drewry 1978) with juveniles first appearing in the nursery 
areas in January (Figure 58) . Juveniles and adults emigrate from the 
estuary in fall but a few may overwinter. Because striped mullet are 
pelagic inhabitants of shallow nearshore waters, trawl catches of the 
species were sporadic and seldom approached the numbers collected with 
the seine (Figure 59) . Striped mullet were collected throughout the 
peninsula, including Lake Mattamuskeet, but were least abundant in 
Croatan Sound (Figure 60) . Conversely, M. curema , which are usually 
found in high salinity waters near the inlet, were collected only in 
Croatan Sound. The M. curema reported in a June 1969 rotenone sample in 
Lake Mattamuskeet were probably M. cephalus and were analyzed as striped 
mullet. Lack of seining effort in northern Pamlico Sound precluded 
comparing the abundance of striped mullet in the two Pamlico Sound 
basins. 

Gill nets and common seines are the major gears that catch mullet. 
Although most are taken in the Atlantic Ocean, significant quantities 
are taken in the state's inshore waters. Mullet landings on the 
peninsula peaked in 1976 (Appendix A) when Albemarle Sound landings 
reached 200,000 pounds (90,800 kg), nearly a five fold increase over the 
average for the preceding five years. 

The remaining species were less abundant on the peninsula and 
generally occurred too infrequently to illustrate area specific seasonal 
patterns (Table 9) . However, when combined with information from the 
literature, some of these species can be profiled. 

Spawning by Penaeus duorarum is protracted and recruitment occurs 
during late May through summer (Hawkins 1982; this study) . Pink shrimp 
CPUE is highest in the fall when the species supports a commercial 
fishery (Carpenter 1979; Carpenter and Ross 1979; Carpenter 1980; 



88 






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LOGCPUE: cxziO a^| ^m2 c=d~5 czz^4 *™5 



Figure 60. Geographical distribution of Mugil cephalus catches. 



90 



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Hawkins 1982; Ross and Carpenter 1983; Ross and Epperly in press, this 
study) . The species may overwinter and depending on winter conditions, 
support a spring/early summer commercial fishery. Pink shrimp were 
restricted to Pamlico and Croatan sounds and were much more abundant 
north of Bluff Shoal. The life history of P. setiferus is similar to 
that of P. duorarum except that its recruitment period is shorter, 
beginning in June, and white shrimp do not overwinter appreciably. It 
is caught commercially in the fall. White shrimp were also most 
abundant in northern Pamlico Sound. 

The southern flounder, Paralichthys lethostigma was the most 
abundant flatfish collected on the peninsula. Winter-spawned 
young-of-the-year first recruit in March and reach peak abundance by 
April or May (Carpenter 1979, Carpenter and Ross 1979; Ross 1980a; 
Hawkins 1982; Ross and Carpenter 1983; Ross and Epperly in press; this 
study) . Southern flounder were most abundant in Pamlico Sound but the 
species occurred throughout the peninsula and in Lake Mattamuskeet. It 
supports a directed pound net fishery off the mouth of Alligator River, 
in Croatan Sound, and behind Hatteras Island, in addition to the larger 
Core Sound flounder pound net fishery. Southern flounder are also taken 
in gill nets, crab trawls, haul seines and to a lesser extent, in the 
winter trawl fishery (Sholar 1979a, b; DeVries 1980; Ross 1980b, 1982; 
Ross 1984) . 



DISCUSSION 

The mesohaline waters of Pamlico Sound are quite productive and 
like the estuaries of other Atlantic and Gulf states (Livingston 1976; 
Tagatz 1968; Dahlberg 1972; Cain and Dean 1976; Weinstein and Brooks 
1983) are seasonally dominated by migratory marine species. Ross and 
Epperly (in press) analyzed monthly catch data from 51 DMF juvenile 
stock assessment stations sampled throughout Pamlico and Core sounds in 
1981 and 1982, and reported that the stations along the southern 
perimeter of the Pamlico-Albemarle Peninsula were among the most 
productive in the Pamlico Sound area. The 51 stations were classified 
into five well-defined groups based on the distributions and abundances 



9 2 



of the 24 most abundant demersal species. Except for tidal influence 
with its resulting higher salinities, the physicochemical environments 
of the stations were similar and individual parameters could not be used 
to separate the station groups. Two station groups, located primarily 
in Core Sound, were highly influenced by the presence of aquatic 
vegetation and by high, tidally fluctuating salinities. The remaining 
three station groups were located in the non-tidal portion of Pamlico 
Sound and were generally separated in the vicinity of Bluff Shoal 
corresponding to the northern and western basins. Stations in the 
western basin were further distinguished by their proximity to the open 
waters of Pamlico Sound. Those stations farther from open waters were 
the least productive. Species' abundance and composition were similar 
between the stations of northern Pamlico Sound and the western Pamlico 
Sound stations in close proximity to open waters, and both station 
groups were generally highly productive for most of the commercially 
important species. 

The two Pamlico Sound basins exhibited some differing biological 
patterns (Ross and Epperly in press; this study) . Catches of blue 
crabs, bay anchovies, croaker, weakfish, spotted seatrout and silver 
perch were higher in the northern basin, and spot and pinfish catches 
were greater in western Pamlico Sound. Spot recruitment was earliest in 
stations north of Bluff Shoal and recruitment of croaker during fall 
1974-1983 was significantly higher in the same area. Separate 
circulatory gyres in the two basins, set up by W-WNW or E-ESE winds (L. 
J. Pietrafesa pers. comm.), may lead to the divergent biological 
patterns observed in Pamlico Sound. 

Albemarle Sound is the most important spawning and nursery area 
for anadromous and freshwater species, although other estuaries of the 
state support populations of these species (Marshall 1976; Hawkins 1980; 
Judy and Hawkins 1983; Fischer 1983) . The spring influx of anadromous 
fish from the sea is an important component of the sound's fauna, but 
nekton biomass in the open waters of Albemarle Sound peaks during the 
winter months in the western portion and is a result of white perch and 
white catfish migration into the deep waters of the area (Hester and 
Copeland 1975) . Trends in juvenile alosine catch-per-unit effort 
statistics at the stations located on the peninsula have been similar to 



93 



trends in indices of juvenile abundance in Albemarle Sound area for both 
the blueback herring and the alewife (Winslow and Sanderlin 1983) . 

The inland lakes of the peninsula offer unique habitats for fishes 
in the region. Although once landlocked, these lakes now have dredged 
channels allowing immigration of estuarine, anadromous and marine 
species. The canals leading to Lake Phelps support a population of 
river herring that differs significantly from the Albemarle Sound and 
Pamlico Sound populations in that alewives are more abundant than 
blueback herring; some may enter the lake. The nearshore areas of Lake 
Phelps support a large population of forage fish, comprised mainly of 
cyprinids, Fundulus spp., Etheostoma spp. , and juvenile Morone 
americana , Perca f lavescens , and centrarchids; whereas the mid-lake area 
is nearly devoid of forage fish (Kornegay and Dineen 1979) . The 
dominant predators in the Lake Phelps system are largemouth bass, white 
perch, bluegill and pumpkinseed, all of recreational importance. The 
1950 's stocking of the northern pike and the 1960 's and 1970' s stocking 
of striped bass were unsuccessful (Kornegay 1981) . 

Lake Mattamuskeet underwent a succession of changes after 
reflooding in 1934 (Holloway 1948) . During the post-flooding period of 
1936-1947, annual angler catches of the following species peaked in 
sequence: largemouth bass, black crappie, sunfishes, white perch and 
carp. Carp and catfish were taken commercially beginning in 1939. In 
1949 striped bass and bluegills (accidently) were introduced as a means 
to control the forage fish populations and enhance sport fishing in the 
lake. Angler catches increased as a result of continued striped bass 
and largemouth bass stocking and vegetation and water clarity improved 
as the forage fish populations declined. Channel catfish have been 
stocked in recent years in addition to striped bass and largemouth bass 
(Boaze 1982) . Lake Mattamuskeet experiences a regular influx of fauna 
from Pamlico Sound. Blue crabs, silversides and killifish, are common 
inhabitants. Striped bass (Geddings 1970) and alewives (Tyus 1971) are 
seasonally abundant and support recreational fisheries in the lake and 
surrounding canals, respectively. A portion of the white perch 
population, one of the most abundant species in the lake, may also 
migrate out of the lake. 



94 



New Lake and Pungo Lake are the smallest lakes on the peninsula. 
New Lake is not being managed by either a state or federal agency, in 
part because of its limited accessibility, shallow depths, and low 
productivity. These factors, combined with the difficulty in sampling 
the lake because of the many cypress stumps, account for the limited 
fisheries data from the lake. In contrast to New Lake Fork which Smith 
and Baker (1965) classified as excellent for sportsf ishing, New Lake 
collections have yielded only the golden shiner and the mosquitof ish. 
It has supported some commercial catf ishing (Smith and Baker 1965) . 

The fauna of Pungo Lake is primarily comprised of freshwater 
species, but menhaden, white perch and alewives enter the lake. The 
waters of the Pungo National Wildlife Refuge have been closed to fishing 
but reproducing populations of certain catfish and centrarchids could 
support a sport fishery (Boaze 1980) . To decrease turbidity and allow 
stands of aquatic vegetation to be established, Boaze (1980) recommended 
stocking largemouth bass to feed on the forage fish. 

The Pamlico-Albemarle Peninsula is an important nursery area for 
many species. Even though there has been a suggestion of partitioning 
in estuarine nurseries through temporal, spatial and trophic segregation 
(Livingston et al. 1976; Sheridan and Livingston 1979; Weinstein et al. 
1980) , utilization of the peninsula is usually intense, involving the 
simultaneous occurrence of a large number of individuals of relatively 
few species, all with similar trophic and life history patterns. If any 
one resource were limiting, competition would be predictably high. 

Young-of-the-year spot, Atlantic croaker, Atlantic menhaden, 
pinfish, striped mullet, southern flounder, brown shrimp, alewives and 
blueback herring recruit in late winter and early spring, whereas 
young-of-the-year spottail shiners, white perch, white catfish, 
weakfish, silver perch, atherinids and anchovies recruit in late spring 
and summer. Atlantic croaker also recruit during the fall in areas 
north of Bluff Shoal. There was some spatial partitioning among these 
major species. Alewives, blueback herring, spottail shiners, white 
perch and white catfish were most abundant in the limnetic and 
oligohaline reaches of the estuary; the others were more abundant in the 
mesohaline waters of the peninsula. Some species, such as Atlantic 
menhaden, striped mullet, atherinids, anchovies and spottail shiners, 



95 



were pelagic and/or nearshore inhabitants, whereas juvenile weakfish, 
silver perch, and summer flounder are apparently most abundant in the 
deeper, more open waters of Pamlico Sound (Powell and Schwartz 1977, 
Carpenter 1979; Carpenter and Ross 1979; Ross 1980a; Hawkins 1982; Ross 
and Carpenter 1983) . Abundance of some species differed between basins 
of the Pamlico Sound. 

Juvenile fishes in estuaries are trophic generalists (Miller and 
Dunn 1980) and many fish species including spot and croaker (Woodward 
1981) , are able to mitigate competition for food resources by decreasing 
their diet overlap in the absence of their commonly preferred prey 
(Nilsson 1967) . Food, at least in non-tidal Rose Bay (Currin 1984) and 
the tidal Newport River area grass beds (Adams 1976; Thayer et al. 
1975) , is usually abundant. 

The commercial fishing industry depends on estuarine dependent 
species and their successful production in the nursery areas. Although 
estuarine waters in adjacent states are also very productive (Tagatz 
1968; Hackney et al. 1976; Cain and Dean 1976; Chao and Musick 1977; de 
Sylva et al. 1962) , commercially exploitable concentrations of large 
adults of the most abundant fishes in these systems occur between Sandy 
Hook, N.J. and Cape Fear, N.C. (Street and McClees 1981; Wilk 1981). 
The degree of latitudinal mixing is not known. In North Carolina, when 
Atlantic menhaden landings are excluded, most of the commercial and 
recreational landings are taken from inshore waters (DeVries 1980; 
Street and McClees 1981) ; even in Dare County, the base of the offshore 
winter trawl fishery, 50% of the landings, are taken from inshore 
waters . Landings by gear are given in Appendix B. 

Long haul seines, crab pots, trawls, pound nets and dredges account 
for most of the inshore waters' landings. Eel pots are set in the low 
salinity (oligohaline) waters of the peninsula during the spring and 
fall (Figure 61) (S. E. Winslow and J. H. Hawkins pers. comm.), and hook 
and line catches occur throughout the peninsula. White perch, 
largemouth bass and other centrarchids, catfishes, and striped bass are 
the most common species taken by hook and line in Albemarle Sound 
(Mullis and Guier 1981). Sciaenids, bluefish, mackerels and flounder 

are the most common salt water species caught by hook and line in North 

2 
Carolina . 



96 



Shellfish are taken from Croatan and Pamlico Sounds with rakes, 
tongs, dredges and infrequently by clam trawls (Figure 62). Most (>90%) 
of the sounds' oyster catches are landed in the peninsula counties, but 
clams are infrequently landed in those same counties (Appendix A) . 

Long haul seines are used throughout Croatan Sound and Pamlico Sound 
north of Wysocking Bay, including the deep waters north of Long Shoal 

(Figure 61) . They are also used in the shallow waters west of Wysocking 

3 
Bay in areas where, by regulation , crab pots cannot be set. The 

fishery operates during April through October and spot, Atlantic 

croaker, Atlantic menhaden, weakfish, pinfish and bluefish are the 

species most commonly captured (Sholar 1979a, b; DeVries 1980; Ross 

1980b, 1982; Ross and Carpenter 1983; Ross 1984). Seines are also 

hauled during the late winter, early spring, and fall in western 

Albemarle Sound and during the winter in eastern Albemarle Sound where 

they are used to capture catfish and white perch (S. E. Winslow pers. 

comm.) and in Lake Mattamuskeet where they are used to capture forage 

fish. 

More than 50% of the crabs landed in North Carolina are taken from 
the Pamlico and Croatan sounds areas. Crab pots are the major gear 
used and are set during spring through fall throughout eastern Albemarle 
Sound, Croatan Sound and Pamlico Sound, except where prohibited (Figure 
61) . In Croatan and Pamlico sounds crab trawling is another source of 
crabs (Figure 62) , but this method accounted for less than 25% of the 
area's total crab landings during the last three years. Crab trawling 
occurs throughout the year but crabs are generally caught in the spring 
through fall. Southern flounder catches in the crab trawls are 
significant and rank second to pound net catches for this species. 

Shrimp trawling occurs throughout Croatan and Pamlico sounds. 
Activity in the Pungo River is usually below Durants Point (Figure 62) 
(J. H. Hawkins pers. comm.). Approximately 70% of the Pamlico Sound 
shrimp landings are summer caught brown shrimp (N.C. Div. Mar. Fish. 
1983) . Depending on the year, fall catches of pink and white shrimps 
and spring catches of pink shrimp may be significant. 

The majority of pound nets set in Pamlico Sound along the 
Pamlico-Albemarle Peninsula are bait pounds and are generally fished in 
the fall (Figure 62) (J. H. Hawkins pers. comm.). In the past only a 




Figure 61. Haul seine, crab pot and eel pot fishing areas 
in the vicinity of the Pamlico-Albemarle Teninsula. 







Shellfish Producing Areas 
Trawling Areas 
Pound Netting Areas 



Figure 62. Shellfish, trawling and pound net fishing 
areas in the vicinity of the Pamlico-Albemarle Peninsula. 



99 



few have been set for foodfish, mainly for sciaenids and southern 
flounder. Pound nets are set for in the fall in Croatan Sound (J. L. 
Ross pers. comm.) and at the mouth of Alligator River for flounder, and 
in the late winter and spring for anadromous fish in Croatan and 
Albemarle sounds. (S. E. Winslow pers. comm.) 

Gill nets are set throughout the bays, tributaries and open waters 
of Croatan, Pamlico, and Albemarle sounds (J. H. Hawkins, S. E. Winslow 
and J. L. Ross pers. comm.). Flounder (mostly southern flounder) and 
sciaenids are taken during spring through fall in Croatan and Pamlico 
sounds. Directed fisheries for flounder occur in the spring and fall in 
Abel Bay, Spencer Bay, Rose Bay, Pungo River, and in the fall in Croatan 
Sound and eastern Albemarle Sound. White perch, catfish and striped 
bass are caught in Albemarle Sound throughout the year. Mullet are 
sought in the fall and winter in the Pungo River and eastern Albemarle 
Sound and gill nets are set for anadromous fish in the late winter and 
early spring throughout the waters of the peninsula. 

Albemarle Sound has traditionally provided most of North Carolina's 
anadromous (Winslow and Sanderlin 1983) and freshwater fish landings 
(Harriss 1982) . Landings of these species have been decreasing, 
probably due to a combination of overfishing and deteriorating water 
quality in the western portion of Albemarle Sound (Mullis and Guier 
1981; Street 1984). Catfish, white perch, and anadromous fish landings 
in the five counties of the Pamlico-Albemarle Peninsula have followed 
the falling trend (Appendix A) , except that peninsula landings of 
alewife and blueback herring have not mirrored the decline. However, 
access and fishing pressure along the southern portion of Albemarle 
Sound are limited, and catches there may not be indicative of the river 
herrings' population sizes in the area (Johnson et al. 1977) . 

POTENTIAL IMPACTS 

Estuaries are very dynamic systems, and are comparatively 
productive (Ketchum 1967; Odum and Heald 1975; Adams 1976). They have 
been colonized by several groups of organisms that have evolved 
efficient adaptive and compensatory strategies to withstand the 
potential stress of the environment (Kinne 1967; Potts and Parry 1964) . 



100 



Many factors such as age, nutritional, reproductive, and acclimation 
state and genetics must be considered when evaluating an organism's 
response to stress (Costlow et al. I960; Levinton 1980) and seldom can 
one stress factor be evaluated without considering its interaction with 
other factors (Livingston 1979) . Effects of stress can be acute 
(lethal) or sublethal, but a sublethal effect can be critical to the 
survival of a population even though it is not fatal to the organism. 
Because we know little about the natural variability and trophic 
dynamics in coastal ecosystems or the role of advective processes and 
abiotic factors in the distribution and abundance of estuarine biota, it 
may be difficult to detect changes in estuarine communities and 
attribute any changes to specific sources of stress. However, there are 
some data available to address certain issues concerned with the 
potential impacts of land development on fisheries. 

The amount and seasonality of dissolved solids is critical to the 
functioning of the estuarine nursery areas. Land development in the 
coastal region alters the hydrology of an area and while the increase in 
annual outflow may be slight, peak runoff occurs sooner and is much 
higher on developed lands than on undeveloped lands (Skaggs et al. 
1980) . Therefore, the salinities of the receiving waters are less 
stable. Rapidly fluctuating salinities are stressful for many estuarine 
organisms (Hochachka 1965; Hoar 1966; Day 1967; Livingstone et al. 1979) 
and some, like the spot and croaker, exhibit strong avoidance reactions 
to fluctuating salinities (Gerry 1981) . Pate and Jones (1981) reported 
catches of spot, croaker, southern flounder, blue crab and brown shrimp 
to be significantly lower at stations exhibiting the most unstable 
salinity patterns. High salinities as a result of decreased freshwater 
inflow (see Cross and Williams 1981 for a review) have been associated 
with complex changes in estuarine nursery areas and their decreased 
productivity (Benson 1981) . Conversely, the lowest salinity areas of 
the estuary are typically less diverse and less productive than the 
relatively higher salinity areas (Gunter 1977). A salt marsh's 
resiliency is limited and sustained levels of increased runoff may leach 
sediment salts, causing permanent changes in the flora and fauna of the 
coastal wetlands (Zedler 1983) . Decreased inland water levels as a 
result of drainage for development could decrease the area of freshwater 



101 



fisheries habitat. Alteration of natural ambient water temperatures due 
to heated effluents is also a concern because the altered temperature 
regime could potentially impact biological cycles which may be keyed 
on temperature, such as spawning or emigration. 

Drainage waters from developed lands have a higher sediment load 
than waters draining undeveloped lands (Kirby-Smith and Barber 1979; 
Skaggs et al. 1980) . A certain amount of sediment is necessary to 
nourish estuarine communities but too much may be detrimental. Although 

small when compared to the Piedmont area, the potential annual sediment 

4 2 
loss of 5.6 X 10 kg/m (** ton/acre) estimated for an area of mainland 

Dare County (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 1982) may be significant when 

distributed into the receiving waters of the peninsula. Decreased light 

levels as a result of the increased turbidity can significantly impact 

primary production, decreasing oxygen production (Russell-Hunter 1970) . 

Elevated BOD levels due to increased microbial activity on the suspended 

particles could lead to oxygen stress in the estuarine waters. High 

levels of suspended sediment have been demonstrated to reduce the 

survival of fish eggs and larvae (Auld and Schubel 1978) and interfere 

with the reproduction of sessile shellfish (Galstaff 1964) . Buried 

oyster beds are a testimony to the effect of high depositional rates on 

a benthic community (Galstoff 1964) . Coliform bacteria, which are used 

as indicator organisms for the presence of animal-borne disease, are 

also more abundant in runoff waters from developed lands (Skaggs et al. 

1980) . 

The largest peat deposits in North Carolina are found on the 

Pamlico-Albemarle Peninsula and represent the accumulation of organic 

matter in the pocosins (Otte and Ingram 1980) . The peat naturally 

contains a number of heavy metals (Environmental Science and 

Engineering, Inc. 1982a) which may be leached from the land during 

development or in effluent as a result of peat processing. Some metals 

such as copper, zinc and iron are used by aquatic organisms as enzyme 

cofactors but may be a toxicant when found in excess (Moore and 

Ramamoorthy 1984) . Heavy metal concentrations above threshold levels 

are known to be toxic to aquatic life (Ruivo 1972; Vernberg and Vernberg 

1974,- Lockwood 1976; Giam 1977; Vernberg et al. 1977; Cole 1979) and the 

toxicity is frequently taxa specific (Moore and Ramamoorthy 1984) . Most 



102 



effects are tested in laboratory toxicity tests but chronic, sublethal 
concentrations of pollutants may have long-term effects which are 
difficult to evaluate or predict from laboratory toxicity tests 

(Mclntyre and Mills 1975) . Sublethal effects in marine organisms include 
inhibition of enzyme synthesis; decreased reproductive potential, 
growth, sensory abilities, and osmoregulation; and behavioral changes 

(Moore and Ramamoorthy 1984; Cole 1979) . Frequently metals have 
synergistic effects on each other (Moore and Ramamoorthy 1984; 
Ramamoorthy and Blumhagen 1984) . The chemical form of a metal is very 
important but speciation of trace metals can be highly variable and is 
dependent on metal concentration and environmental parameters such as 
organic matter, salinity and pH (Engel et al. 1981) . The toxicities of 
these metals are a function of such parameters as the metal 
concentration and its forms, temperature, dissolved oxygen and exposure 
time (Moore and Ramamoorthy 1984) . For example, mercury is most toxic 
when the mercuric form binds with a methyl group from a donor molecule, 
which is a commonly occurring biological end product in many aquatic 
systems. Under reducing conditions, the concentration of the mercuric 
form is relatively depressed and when the temperature is low or the 
concentration of organic matter is high, the same concentration of 
methyl mercury is not as toxic as when temperatures are higher or 
organic matter concentrations are lower (Moore and Ramamoorthy 1984) ; 
Ramamoorthy and Blumhagen 1984) . Some metals such as mercury and copper 
accumulate through the food chain whereas bioaccumulation of metals such 
as lead, chromium and nickel is undocumented. 

Currently the major land uses of the peninsula are for agriculture 
and forestry (North Carolina Office of State Budget and Management 
1981) ; agriculture has been proposed as reclamation for peat-mined 
lands. Nutrient loading in estuarine waters of North Carolina has 
increased at least one order of magnitude over that of predevelopment 
conditions (Kirby-Smith and Barber 1979) , and has been implicated in 
the eutrophication of coastal waters (Paerl 1982) and in the promotion 
of Aeromonas , a bacteria causing red sore disease in fishes (Esch and 
Hazen 1980) . Pesticides and organochemicals are used in forestry and 
agriculture, and may pose a threat to the estuarine organisms because of 
their ability to kill or stress the organisms and because they may 



103 



persist in the environment (Eisler 1972) . Toxicity may be acute or 
sublethal and include such effects as death; decreased growth and 
reproductive potential; and behavior changes (Eisler 1972; Mitrovic 
1972) . Bioaccumulation may be high, reaching a factor of 70,000 for 
some shellfish (Butler 1966) . 

The fishes of the Pamlico-Albemarle Peninsula could be affected by 
land development in the area, but because environmental degradation is 
usually insidious and cumulative (Odum 1970) , impacts are difficult to 
predict. It is assumed that all effects of such degradation are 
deleterious, but not demonstrable for relatively low exposures. 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 

The following Division of Marine Fisheries personnel participated 
in sampling the Pamlico-Albemarle Peninsula: J. Bahen, R. Brown, 

B. Burns, D. Crocker, R. Harriss, C. Harvell, J. Hawkins, H. Johnson, 
R. Jones, G. Judy, S. Keefe, M. Marshall, D. Mumford, P. Pate, 

C. Purvis, R. Rouse, N. Sanderlin, T. Sholar, M. Street, D. Sykes, 
L. Tyson, and S. Winslow. P. Kornegay and T. Mullis of the Inland 
Fisheries Division were quite helpful in providing data for Lake Phelps 
and from the 1964 stream surveys. J. Boaze, L. Ditto and D. Kitts of 
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provided recent data from Lake 
Mattamuskeet and Pungo Lake collections. I thank M. Huish of the North 
Carolina State University (NCSU) Cooperative Fish Unit for allowing me 
access to his files on historical Lake Mattamuskeet collections and 
J. Miller, M. Currin and J. Reed, also of NCSU, for the summaries of 
their Rose Bay work. F. Rhode provided invaluable advice on freshwater 
taxonomic problems and information on their life histories and S. Ross 
aided in marine species identification problems. I appreciate the 
advice of C. Harvell, J. Hawkins, H. Johnson, G. Judy, J. Ross, T. 
Sholar and S. Winslow on the fisheries of the peninsula and would like 
to thank E. Barber, J. Hawkins, H. Johnson, L. Mercer, S. Ross, T. 
Sholar, M. Street and S. Winslow for reviewing the manuscript. Most of 
the data were coded and/or keyentered by E. Barber, L. Boddie, N. 
Brown, L. Davis, and L. Gilstrap. K. West provided the commercial 
landings data which were then compiled by D. Heatwole. L. Gilstrap and 



104 



V. Page provided the drafting and H. Page did the photography. Lastly, 
I thank S. Sanchez and M. Stafford for typing this manuscript and L. 
Gilstrap for helping compile many of the data summaries. 



105 



FOOTNOTES 



1. North Carolina general canvas data from the N.C. Division of Marine 
Fisheries and the National Marine Fisheries Service. 

2. National Marine Fisheries Service marine recreational fishery 
statistics surveys, 1979-1982, unpubl. data. 

3. N.C. Department of Natural Resources and Community Development, 
Division of Marine Fisheries. North Carolina Fisheries Regulations 
for Coastal Waters 1984. Regulation 3B.0504. 



106 



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121 



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